A new approach to tackling unsafe speeds

The Government is making changes to speed management to tackle unsafe speeds on New Zealand roads.

Promoting safe travel speeds is a critical part of improving road safety. In the event of a crash, regardless of its cause, the speed of impact is the most important factor influencing whether or not the people involved can walk away from a crash alive. There is strong evidence that a decrease in the average travel speed on a road is associated with a decrease in the number of crashes, as well as the severity.

Councils and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are already working towards reviewing our highest risk roads to reduce the risk of crashes and improve safety outcomes. Speed management treatments can involve reducing speed limits or engineering upgrades to the road.

Effective speed management has also been an important action in many countries that have made significant road safety gains in recent years.

What’s being proposed

The key initiatives of the Tackling Unsafe Speeds programme include:

  • Improving how councils and the Transport Agency plan for, consult on and implement speed management changes.
  • Transitioning to lower speed limits around schools to improve safety and encourage more children to walk and cycle to school.
  • Adopting a new approach to safety cameras to reduce excessive speeds on our highest risk roads.

The Tackling Unsafe Speeds programme was developed with close engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, including extensive discussions at the Speed Reference Group. The programme is a key action under the initial Road to Zero action plan.

Watch the Tackling Unsafe Speeds Presentation

What are the next steps

Implementing the Tackling Unsafe Speeds proposals will require changes to the Land Transport Act 1998 and the Land Transport Management Act 2003. There are some enabling provisions related to speed management in the Land Transport (NZTA) Legislation Amendment Bill(external link), which is currently going through the parliamentary process.

Giving effect to the Tackling Unsafe Speeds proposals will also require substantial changes to the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits.