Speed reduction likely to upset
Traffic on rural roads could be slowed to 80kmh with regional transport bosses seeking a blanket reduction of the open road speed limit.
But road safety campaigners are questioning the move with one saying road users won’t like it and a motoring expert saying people might just ignore it.
Dog and Lemon car review website editor Clive MatthewWilson, compared the move to cannabis laws.
‘‘They only work if people obey them,’’ Matthew-Wilson said.
Last week the Waikato Regional Transport Committee (RTC) voted unanimously, to have chairman Hugh Vercoe draft a letter to the Labour-led government asking that open road speeds on rural, councilowned roads be cut from 100kmh to a maximum of 80kmh or 90kmh.
‘‘We need to do something because the most dangerous roads that we’ve got in our network are the rural roads. Not the state highways, not the urban roads but the rural roads that were never built for the 100kph default speed,’’ Vercoe said.
Vercoe acknowledged the speed reduction on local roads is a ‘‘big call’’ but said little has been done in the past and the region’s toll is rising.
‘‘We’ve talked about this, we’ve been down to Wellington, we’ve done everything and everybody says there are too many fatalities on our roads, but nobody is actually done anything to reverse it,’’ he said.
But Matthew-Wilson doubts the effectiveness of the move.
‘‘Honest drivers will slow down if the speed limits are lowered. However, the high risk groups will simply continue driving recklessly, unless there’s a cop on every corner.’’
When no other factors are involved, speed accounts for 15 per cent of all fatalities on the roads, according to the NZ Transport Agency. Add alcohol and drugs into the mix and the number increases to 44 per cent.
Regional Transport Committee chairman Hugh Vercoe will write a letter to the Government asking to reduce the open road speed on Waikato rural roads.