Wary on road safety
The Dominion Post reported on the conclusions of representatives from many countries on improving road safety (Speed limits come under scrutiny, April 14). The focus has been on safety, not the economic movement of goods and people. Slowing traffic brings costs which must be balanced against the cost of crashes.
The number of vehicles has increased greatly, therefore the risk of crashes is markedly higher and growing. This is especially true on main roads. The same situation applies to a lesser extent on roads in the suburbs and not at all in rural areas. This supports the case for lower speed limits. But the changing density of traffic over a day also is a factor — speed limits make little sense on an empty road.
New Zealand has a unique cohort of drivers, from low socioeconomic to privileged backgrounds, timid to macho attitudes, and non-work to work demands for travel. Its low population density, with people’s chosen outdoor lifestyles, leads to high car ownership.
Safety measures successful overseas may not be justified here.
Under an inexperienced, Green minister, the issue of economic transport will be confused with the issues of safety, sustainability, and promotion of public transport, cycling and walking. The Government needs to tread carefully. MIKE WILLIAMS Tawa