Brake welcomes new road safety strategy and roadside drug testing

Road safety charity Brake is welcoming the Government's new road safety strategy, saying it contains some key actions to help reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.

The final version of the strategy, along with 15 actions that will be implemented over the next three years, was released today.

Brake is particularly welcoming the Vision Zero, 'Safe System', approach taken in the strategy, following international best practice for reducing road trauma. A Vision Zero approach says that human life and health cannot be exchanged for any other benefit within society, meaning that safety must be the top priority in our transport system.

Caroline Perry, Brake's New Zealand director said: "As an organisation that works with bereaved and injured families we see the devastating consequences of crashes. We're pleased to see this strategy takes a Vision Zero approach and includes specific, measurable targets for reducing trauma on our roads. Whilst there is a lot of work to do to improve the safety of our roads over the next decade and beyond, the initial 3-year action plan contains some key pieces of work to help save lives and reduce injuries."

The charity is pleased to see increased investment in road safety upgrades and roads policing in the plans, including additional median barriers, intersection upgrades and other safety treatments, as well as new enforcement technologies. It also welcomes actions around unsafe speeds, improving the safety of footpaths and cycleways, and improving the standards of vehicles entering the fleet among other measures.

Brake also says that including work-related road safety as one of the focus areas of the strategy is an important step in recognising and addressing the risks that at-work drivers can face, and take, when out on the road.

"People driving for work tend to drive more frequently, for longer, and further than the average driver, and it's important that measures are implemented to reduce road risk for these drivers, so we're pleased to see this being recognised in the new strategy," Ms Perry added.

Brake's Global Fleet Champions initiative works to share best practice in fleet safety with organisations that have staff driving for work. Brake runs events and produces resources to help organisations reduce their road risk. Global Fleet Champions is free to join, find out more at www.globalfleetchampions.org.

Brake is also welcoming the announcement that roadside drug testing will be implemented, with Police able to conduct random saliva testing for some illegal drugs and impairing medication.

In 2018, 95 people were killed in crashes where a driver had drugs in their system.

Ms Perry says: "Drugged driving causes horrific harm on our roads, resulting in high numbers of deaths and injuries every year. Roadside testing has been proven in other countries to help take drugged drivers off the road, and to deter people from driving under the influence of drugs, so we're delighted to see these plans for implementation."

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