Taranaki DHB supports road safety survey


23 June 2022

With 83 presentations to Taranaki hospital’s ED department in 2021 due to road accidents, Taranaki’s Public Health Unit (PHU) supports the New Plymouth District Councils consultation on safer speeds on our region’s roads.

The council’s proposed speed changes as part of the national "Road to Zero" strategy is an important way to reduce serious injuries and deaths due to road accidents, says PHU Medical Officer, Carolyn Aird.

“We believe that prioritising more vulnerable road users such as children outside schools is a great first step,” says Aird. “The evidence is clear that when speeds are reduced, human harm is also reduced.

The Road to Zero strategy from Waka Kotahi/NZTA and the Ministry of Transport includes having every council in New Zealand review the appropriate speeds on their local roads.

“Speed limit reductions should be used alongside other traffic calming strategies and enforcement,” says Aird. “This is because research also shows that in places where the speed limit is reduced by 10km/h and no other strategies are employed, the actual traffic speed generally only changes by around 2.5km/h. Therefore, other strategies alongside speed limit reduction should also be considered.”

Reducing speeds on roads is also considered a key counter measure for improving the safety of other road users such as cyclists alongside reducing traffic volumes and changing road layouts.

“Speed is the key factor in deaths and serious injuries – no matter what the cause of an accident is -  it’s speed that determines whether or not you’ll walk away from it,” says Aird.
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