Govt to invest $600m to tackle road toll
Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss have announced a $600 million nationwide road safety programme to help bring down the country’s road toll.
The Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme will see safety improvements made to more than 90 high-risk sites on rural State Highways in 14 regions. It includes nearly all high risk roads where there have been five or more fatalities in the last five years.
“Up to $100 million will be invested annually in the programme over six years – $60 million more than is usually invested each year in road safety improvements,” Mr Bridges says.
“It’s forecast that the programme of roading improvements will result in 900 fewer deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the next ten years.
“It’s a significant step up in road safety investment by the Government and reinforces our commitment to reducing death and serious injury crashes on New Zealand roads,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says eight out of ten fatal and serious crashes on State Highways occur on rural roads and 85 to 90 per cent of those crashes are head on or where the driver runs off the road.
“The road improvements will make roads more forgiving of human error, helping to reduce the occurrence of crashes in the first place and limiting the severity when they do,” Mr Bridges says.
The safety upgrades will target causes of crashes by including a mix of road improvements, realignment of corners in some areas to improve visibility, side barriers, median barriers, rumble strips, wide centrelines, road marking and improved signage.
“These safety improvements aim to significantly reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads and improve the safety rating of more than 400km of rural state highways,” Mr Foss says.
“Improving road infrastructure is a key element of our long-running Safe System approach, which means creating safer roads and roadsides and encouraging safer speeds, safer vehicles and safer road use,” Mr Foss says.
“A Safe System is more forgiving and reduces the price paid for human error but crashes will still happen. That’s why it’s vital for all road users to take responsibility for their own safety and make smart choices — buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive impaired or fatigued,” Mr Foss says.