‘Zero deaths’ approach supported
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