What is the Problem?
New Zealand’s roads are not as safe as those in other countries. Our road network is comparatively long, with much of it built when we had fewer vehicles travelling at lower speeds.
Road improvements contributed to an estimated 11 percent drop in rural road deaths and an estimated 15.8 percent drop in urban road deaths between 1997 and 2005, but we can do much more.
Head-on crashes account for 23 percent of all fatal crashes, yet over 90 percent of them could be avoided by having a median barrier.
Loss of control contributes to 40 percent of all fatal crashes. These crashes would be less severe if there were median barriers present and roadside objects were protected or removed.
21 percent of our fatal crashes occur at intersections. These crashes can be prevented by using methods such as skid-resistant road surfaces and traffic calming.
What are we doing about it?
We will work to improve our roads so that each type of road will eventually have a recognisable and distinctive set of self-explaining features such as signage, lane width, road markings and speed limits. This work will ensure roads are predictable, so that road users can expect particular safety features on each type of road. This should encourage people to travel at speeds that best fit the design and function of the road.
We will also work to make roads forgiving, so that they help to reduce the consequences of those crashes that do occur. We will do this through installing median barriers and removing or protecting roadside objects in known black spot areas.