Ambitious road safety targets needed to save lives

A 2015 evaluation of the previous government’s road safety strategy, released today, highlights the need for ambitious national road safety targets and political leadership in road safety, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

The independent evaluation of the previous government’s Safer Journeys road safety strategy and action plans was released today, alongside a suite of documents, to inform the development of a new road safety strategy.

This Government will take more ambitious action to keep people safe on the road,” says Ms Genter.

The independent evaluation states that the level of ambition in the previous government’s road safety strategy and action plan was ‘compromised by the absence of a specific set of national or regional targets [to reduce death and serious injury]’. It concluded that ‘the lack of a set of national targets for significant reductions in road fatalities and serious injuries is having an effect on the safety experienced by road users in New Zealand’.

“Without an actual target for reducing deaths and serious injuries you risk arriving at the absurd conclusion that your strategy is ‘on-track’ even when you’re not seeing any improvement.

“Ambitious targets are recommended by nearly every major international road safety body and will help focus policy and resources towards saving lives on our roads.

“While the evaluation identifies important progress made under the previous government, it also raised concerns that ‘there was not a strong political champion for road safety’ nor a ‘political mandate’ for senior executives to make change in ‘contentious road safety areas’. That’s something I intend to change,” said Ms Genter.

“This report makes a number of useful recommendations that will feed into the development of a new road safety strategy as well as this year’s road safety work programme.

“The report is now being made available to help inform discussion between stakeholders, government, and the wider public about what needs to be done to save lives on our roads,” said Ms Genter.