Road safety

Road safety charity Brake needs to take a chill pill


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. Read more »

Oh Lordy, somebody has actually carried out research into rigidly enforced speed limits making drivers worse

Regular readers will recall Whaleoil’s stance against police trying to reduce the road toll through targeted speed limit campaigns.  Empirical evidence showed that it had absolutely no positive effect.

Research now shows it is worse than that.

New research from The University of Western Australia has found strictly enforced speed limits could have a detrimental impact on road safety.


Researchers used a driving simulator to test whether lowering speed enforcement thresholds would impact on a driver’s mental and visual abilities. Eighty-four young adult participants drove under conditions where they could be fined for travelling one, six, or 11 km/h over a 50 km/h speed limit.

A peripheral detection task was used to measure drivers’ mental and visual workload. They also filled out a questionnaire which asked how difficult or demanding they found the experience of driving under the different enforcement conditions.

Stricter speed limit enforcement led to drivers rating the experience as more demanding and had a significant negative impact on peripheral vision, or the ability to detect objects outside the driver’s immediate line of sight.

Many Whaleoil commenters had intuitively come to the same conclusion.  And of course, the number of deaths on our roads inconveniently increased during the lower tolerance periods.   Read more »

Whaleoil’s George vs Herald’s Heather


I jumped off the plane at 6am last Saturday from a holiday overseas.

I won’t say where I was because if I do you’ll Google the road toll in that country and my argument will crumble in a jumble of terrible statistics.

But trust me. I think I’m on to something here. In my Mysterious Offshore Destination, the speed limit is 120km/h .

Some of the cars on that country’s roads can handle that speed limit, some of the cars can reach that speed faster than you can read this sentence, but some of the cars can’t get there without shaking off their wing mirrors.

Inevitably, I found myself zooming down a state highway at the top speed and closing in on a rust bucket shuddering along at 90km/h.

And then something remarkable happened.

The slower car in front pulled on to the shoulder to let me past. Then I copied what I’d seen other motorists in that country do. After I passed, I flicked my hazard lights to say thank you. The other driver flicked their headlights to acknowledge me.

And that’s how I spent the rest of my time behind the wheel: flicking lights to other drivers to say either “thank you” or “you’re welcome”.

It’s because I got used to courteous driving that I found getting into my car in Auckland so frustrating.

And now, George:   Read more »

Don’t just suspend their licence, stick them on the next flight home


What is the problem with dickhead tourists coming here thinking they are immune from the law?  Would it be because, in a way, they are?

A UK tourist had his licence suspended on the spot after police clocked him driving at 150kph in a rental car.

He was caught near Kumara Junction Highway, on the South Island’s West Coast. Read more »


And remember: Let’s be careful out there


So, as we head into Christmas Day, and the days beyond, I would like to just ask you to take that extra time and be safe.

Everything else can wait.  It really can. Read more »


Seven people dead on the road this weekend during a lower tolerance limit – why bother?

Because: money.  It’s not about lives, it’s about the fines.

At least seven people have died on the country’s roads this weekend.

The latest known fatal accident happened this afternoon near Carterton.

Emergency services were called to the single-vehicle car crash, on Perrys Rd between East Taratahi Rd and Francis Line, about 5.30pm.

Masterton Sergeant Peter Rix said a man had been flung from the car and sustained injuries that proved fatal, despite attempts by paramedics to rescuscitate him.

Earlier, in the Bay of Plenty, one person died and four others were injured in a two-car crash on State Highway Two near Katikati, about 3.30pm.

St John transported five people to Tauranga Hospital.   Read more »

Cry Babies of the Week

CRY BAIES: Tukituki Lhome-wrecker Anna Lorck with students Emily Pattullo (left), Kyle Brittin, Chris Hicks, Felix Ellis Jones and Brittney Lorck

CRY BABIES: Tukituki home-wrecker Anna Lorck with students Emily Pattullo (left), Kyle Brittin, Chris Hicks, Felix Ellis Jones and Brittney Lorck

This week’s cry babies are being promoted and enabled by Tukituki home-wrecker Anna Lorck, and one is her own daughter.

For young people trying to get their driver’s licence it appears the cost is standing between them and a little independence.

School student Emily Pattullo is 16 years old and still on her learner’s licence. She has attempted the test to get her restricted licence twice.

Twice she has failed.

“It has cost me $600 so far and I haven’t passed,” she said.    Read more »

People who speed already proving some roads are safe

Unintended consequences of speeding on safe roads is that we know it is safe

The Waikato region has the highest road toll in the country, with 55 deaths so far this year.

Factoring in loss of life, loss of output medical, property damage, legal and court costs, those deaths came at an estimated social cost of $219 million.

The region’s transport committee chair, Hugh Vercoe, said some country roads were not safe at 100 kilometres an hour – while sections of the new expressway, which will link Auckland to Cambridge, could be suitable for a higher speed limit.

“We’re saying what is appropriate, and if the Waikato Expressway, with its four lanes, with separation in the middle, is 100km/h, is that the safe speed limit?

“That may be part of the discussion and we may well say that could go to 110.”

Automobile Association motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon agreed the expressway was being built to a very high standard and could operate safely at 110km/h.

“Many of those roads will be running pretty much at 110km at the moment when they’re uncongested, they’ll be running very close to that,” he said. “But, of course, those people are currently speeding.”

The way we seem to be going is that the very clear 50 /70 / 100 zones are slowly being diluted to make sure that hot spots have the speed limit reduced.  But at least there is some honesty about lifting it where it is safe to do so as well.   Read more »

Is it time to acknowledge there is a “background road toll”?


The holiday weekend road toll has ended at five – two more than last year.

It’s the highest Labour Weekend road toll since 2012, with three people dying on the roads yesterday alone.

Police have described the toll as “disappointing”. …

“We are disappointed with this, we’re disappointed every time we lose somebody on our roads of course,” national road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said on Radio New Zealand this morning. Read more »


Speed tolerance down to 4 km/h this long weekend


The road toll is already terrible compared to previous years, so the police are trying to get your attention and make drivers be more aware of road safety.   This time, education, rather than a stick   Read more »