What is the problem?

Compared to other OECD countries, New Zealand has a relatively high rate of road deaths per head of population. New Zealand is a highly motorised country. More of our travel is by car than in many other countries. Even when we take this into account, a comparison between our level of deaths per vehicle kilometres travelled with the other countries shows our performance is the poorest.

Analysis of New Zealand’s current road crash problem, and how it is likely to change over 2010–2020, shows there are 13 areas where current performance needs to be strengthened. Areas of high concern are Reducing alcohol/drug impaired driving, Increasing the safety of young drivers, Safe roads and roadsides, Safe speeds and Increasing the safety of motorcycling.

Safe System diagram

Safe System diagram

What are we doing about it?

The vision, a safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury, challenges us to see road deaths and serious injuries as preventable.

We will need a significant shift in the way we think about and manage road safety if we are to realise our vision over 2010– 2020. Our current approach could maintain our existing level of road safety, but it will not deliver further reductions in the number of deaths and serious injuries.

To achieve this change we will take a Safe System approach to road safety. The Safe System differs from traditional approaches to road safety. Rather than always blaming the road user for causing a crash, it acknowledges that even responsible people sometimes make mistakes in their use of the roads.

The Safe System focuses on creating safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road use. Explore the tabs on the left to learn more about these elements, or download the complete strategy here.

Read more about Safer Journeys

  • Safe road use

    A Safe System assumes that even responsible road users will sometimes make mistakes. This does not mean that road users have no role to play in improving road safety.

  • Safe speeds

    Our overall goal is to reduce the number of crashes and the severity of the crashes that do occur. Managing speed is crucial to this because the outcome of all crashes is strongly influenced by the impact speed.

  • Safe vehicles

    A Safe System means we have a vehicle fleet where all of the cars, vans, motorcycles, buses and trucks have the latest proven vehicle safety technologies.

  • Safe roads and roadsides

    Our long-term goal is to improve the safety of our roads and roadsides to significantly reduce the likelihood of crashes occurring and to minimise the consequences of those crashes that do occur.