With 83 presentations to the Taranaki Hospital Emergency Department in 2021 due to road accidents, the Taranaki Public Health Unit (PHU) supports New Plymouth District Council’s consultation on safer speeds on the roads of our region.

The council’s proposed gear changes as part of the national “Road to Zero” strategy are an important way to reduce serious injuries and deaths from road traffic crashes, said Carolyn Aird, PHU’s medical officer.

“We think focusing on vulnerable road users such as children outside of schools is a great first step,” says Aird. “The evidence is clear that when speeds are reduced, human damage is also reduced.

The Road to Zero strategy of Waka Kotahi/NZTA and the Department of Transport calls for every council in New Zealand to consider appropriate speeds on their local roads.

“Speed ​​limit reductions should be used alongside other traffic calming strategies and measures,” Aird says. “This is because research also shows that in places where the speed limit is reduced by 10 km/h and no other strategy is used, the actual speed of traffic generally only changes by around 2.5 km/h. Therefore, other strategies alongside reducing the speed limit should also be considered.”

Reducing speed on roads is also seen as a key countermeasure to improve the safety of other road users, such as cyclists, alongside reducing traffic volumes and altering road layouts.

“Speed ​​is the key factor in fatalities and serious injuries – whatever the cause of an accident – it’s speed that determines whether you’ll pull away from it or not,” says Aird.

© Scoop Media

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