Road safety charity Brake needs to take a chill pill

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Raising the speed limit to 110km on some sections of road could lead to more deaths and injuries, says the road safety charity, Brake.

The government has proposed a speed management guide, which would allow for the raising of speed limits on highways where there is a median barrier and at least two lanes on either side.

Head of Brake Caroline Perry said upping the speed limit was not the right way to make New Zealand’s roads safer.

“The faster you’re travelling, the greater your stopping distances, the less time you have to react to an unexpected hazard and the bigger the impact in the event of a crash,” she said.

“So increasing the speed limit could mean the difference between life and death.”

Could.   Sure.

But explain Germany then.  The government is only considering a 110 km/h limit on recently formed expressways that do not have any bendy bits, any bottle necks and are level and smooth.

…she did welcome part of the proposal which would give local authorities the power to lower the limit on certain roads.

“We’ve got a lot of rural roads out there that have 100km speed limit still as the default speed limit but actually the condition of those roads don’t match the speed limit.”

The Automobile Association, which is involved in the speed limit proposal, agrees that some limits are too high on some roads and need to come down.

But its spokesperson, Mike Noon, is fully supportive of increasing the limit on modern and well engineered roads.

He said the guide was about setting limits which were appropriate for the risks on each road.

As the road safety signs says “It’s not a target”.   Just because one person was drunk, drugged, tired or distracted coming to a bad end on a rural road doesn’t mean everyone else has to suffer a reduced speed limit.

Stop farting around trying to save everyone from themselves.   Sure, concentrate on hot spots by redesigning road layout, using signage or other control measures.  But changing the speed limit is a very blunt tool.  The last thing we want is having the speed limit change every 500m depending on which hazards exists or which local authority has their crusading knickers in a bunch.

 

– RNZ

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