Higher speed limit common sense, says safety campaigner

A proposal to raise the speed limit to 110km/h on selected roads is simply keeping up with the times, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

“Modern highways are infinitely safer than roads of even twenty years ago, yet the speed limit has not budged. Driving at 110km/h on suitable highways is far safer than driving at 100km/h on many ordinary rural roads.”

“Median barriers, roadside fencing, rumble strips, roadside lighting, and multiple lanes reduce the risk of a serious accident to a fraction of what it is on many of New Zealand’s older roads.”

Matthew-Wilson says the public has been badly misinformed on the role that speed plays in road fatalities.

“If you ask the average person what causes road deaths, many people will say that exceeding the speed limit is the biggest risk. In fact, about 80% of road fatalities occur below the speed limit, and most of these fatalities would not have occurred on a properly built road.”

study by Monash University of the effectiveness of roadside fencing and median barriers concluded that: “reductions of up to 90% in death and serious injury can be achieved, with no evidence of increased road trauma for motorcyclists.”

Matthew-Wilson adds that there is also a clear case for lowering the speed limit on some roads.

“The government needs to urgently upgrade a number of high-risk rural roads, so that simple mistakes don’t turn into fatalities. In the meantime, it makes sense for drivers to reduce their speed on these roads that are less forgiving.”