No loss of life is acceptable, is the message behind the development of the Government’s new road safety strategy, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.
The development of the new strategy was announced today at the Local Government Road Safety Summit in Wellington.
“As part of the development of a new road safety strategy the Government will investigate setting a target of zero road deaths,” says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.
“I accept that a target of zero death would be audacious, but ambitious targets are need to focus the resources of both central and local government to save lives on our roads.
“No other industry accepts hundreds of people dying each year as normal. No person I know thinks losing a loved one in a crash is an acceptable price to pay for living in a modern society.
“Ambitious zero road death strategies have been successful overseas. Countries like Canada, Sweden, and Norway all aim for zero road deaths and have considerably lower fatality rates than New Zealand.
“The development of a new road safety strategy will take until September 2019 and be ready for implementation in 2020. It will outline the steps New Zealand will take to meaningfully reduce deaths and serious injuries over the coming decade.
“While the strategy is being completed we intend to push forward with actions where there is strong evidence of effectiveness.
“The Government has proposed a significant boost in funding to improve local and regional roads right around the country. This will have a particular focus on proven safety treatments, like median and side barriers.
“We’re also considering a significant funding boost to deliver safe walking and cycling infrastructure in our towns and cities.
“Over the next year the Government will consider a number of options for reducing harm on the road, including improving the safety of vehicles entering New Zealand, reducing speeds around schools, and will implement mandatory alcohol interlock device systems for repeat drunk drivers,” Ms Genter said.