Road safety charity concerned at potential speed limit raise

Road safety charity Brake says it is extremely concerned following the Government's announcement that speed limits could be raised on certain roads.

Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director says: "Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes and casualties. The faster you're travelling, the greater your stopping distance is, the less time you have to react to an unexpected hazard, and the bigger the impact in the event of a crash. This could mean the difference between life and death.

"We're extremely concerned that an increase in speed limits could lead to more deaths and serious injuries on our roads, at a time when those numbers are already on the increase. Whilst we might have some roads that have a five-star rating, this is just one area of the safe system. New Zealand has an older vehicle fleet, not everyone has five-star rated vehicles with all the accompanying safety features. And over 90% of crashes are caused by driver error."

Brake is also concerned that some drivers would choose to break a 110km/h limit, both breaking the law and putting lives at risk by travelling at even higher speeds.

However, the charity adds that it does welcome the announcement that the speed management guide will also help local authorities to reduce speeds on some roads, and to work more closely with communities in this process.

Quick reference facts: speed

  • Your stopping distance when travelling at 100km/h is 73 metres.
  • Your stopping distance when travelling at 110km/h is 96 metres.
  • It has been estimated that for every 2 km/h reduction in average speeds, crash rates fall by an average of 5% [1].

[1] Speed, Speed Limits and Accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994

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