‘Zero deaths’ ap­proach sup­ported

Hamilton News - - NEWS -

Driver li­cence re­views, low­er­ing the speed limit on ru­ral roads and in­ves­ti­gat­ing the drug-driv­ing is­sue are among the mea­sures the Waikato Re­gional Trans­port Com­mit­tee (RTC) has asked the Gov­ern­ment to con­sider in the new Na­tional Road Safety Strat­egy.

On be­half of the Waikato RTC and the Re­gional Road Safety Fo­rum (RRS Fo­rum), in­te­gra­tion and in­fra­struc­ture man­ager Mark Ta­mura has writ­ten to As­so­ciate Trans­port Min­is­ter Julie Anne Gen­ter ask­ing that the min­is­ter and the Min­istry of Trans­port na­tional road safety strat­egy de­vel­op­ment team re­spond to is­sues raised in a Waikato re­gion strat­egy.

The strat­egy po­si­tion pa­per, which can be viewed on the re­gional coun­cil web­site, points to road safety is­sues, strate­gic ap­proaches, poli­cies and ac­tions that RTC and the RRS Fo­rum want to see in the new na­tional strat­egy.

RTC chair­man and re­gional coun­cil­lor Hugh Ver­coe said the po­si­tion pa­per re­flected the re­gion’s com­mit­ment to work­ing to­wards zero deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries on its trans­port net­work.

The Gov­ern­ment will in­ves­ti­gate adopt­ing the ‘Vi­sion Zero’ ap­proach in the road safety strat­egy, and Mr Ver­coe says the com­mit­tee sup­ports this stance.

“We recog­nise that is an as­pi­ra­tional tar­get but we want that level of am­bi­tion, and we want the Gov­ern­ment to take the lead on this.”

Vi­sion Zero takes hu­man life and health as the top con­sid­er­a­tion when de­sign­ing a trans­port sys­tem. With Vi­sion Zero, the trans­port sys­tems are de­signed and built for hu­man er­ror.

“The Waikato is over rep­re­sented in death and se­ri­ous in­jury out­comes. We make up about 20 per cent of na­tional ca­su­al­ties,” said Mr Ver­coe.

Among ap­proaches to road safety iden­ti­fied in the pa­per are re­quests to:

■ Re­duce de­fault ru­ral speed lim­its for lo­cal roads to 80-90km/h to re­duce av­er­age speeds and deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries.

■ Over­haul the cur­rent driver li­cens­ing ap­proach to en­able skills de­vel­op­ment and main­te­nance through­out a driver’s life­time, and in­clude li­cence re­view as part of this.

■ Quan­tify the scale of the drug­driv­ing is­sue in or­der to for­mu­late a re­sponse with ur­gency.

■ In­clude ef­fec­tive post-crash emer­gency re­sponse, treat­ment, trauma care and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in the road safety frame­work.

RTC has an elected mem­ber rep­re­sen­ta­tion from each of the 11 Waikato coun­cils and the RRS Fo­rum also in­cludes the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion, Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, Cy­cle Ac­tion Net­work, CCS Dis­abil­ity Ac­tion, Na­tional Road Car­ri­ers, NZ Po­lice (Bay of Plenty), Road Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion and Waikato District Health Board.

“We recog­nise that is an as­pi­ra­tional tar­get but we want that level of am­bi­tion.”

Hugh Ver­coe Re­gional Trans­port Com­mit­tee chair­man

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