Technology the key to lowering road toll

Technology easily beats enforcement when it comes to saving lives, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says New Zealand's high Labour weekend road toll shows that speed enforcement, by itself, does little to reduce the road toll.

“We were told that lowering and heavily enforcing speed limits would dramatically reduce the road toll. In fact, despite all these measures, the Labour weekend road toll is horrific.”

Matthew-Wilson points out this isn’t the first time aggressive police campaigns have failed.

“The Auckland harbour bridge used to have one serious or fatal crash a week. The police tried the usual speed enforcement campaigns, which made no difference. Eventually, a median barrier was installed on the harbour bridge; the serious crashes virtually stopped overnight and never came back.”

According to credible studies, by simply fitting median barriers and roadside fencing to existing roads, reductions of up to 90% in death and serious injury can be achieved, with no evidence of increased road trauma for motorcyclists.”

Matthew-Wilson says the government continues to ignore cheap and simple ways of lowering the road toll.

“Daytime running lights can reduce daytime accidents by as much as 25%. Daytime running lights have been compulsory in Europe since 2011. Yet they’re not compulsory in New Zealand and don’t appear to be even on the government’s agenda.”

Matthew-Wilson adds that it’s time to restrict access to motorbikes, especially for older riders.

“Barely a week goes by without another motorbike fatality. Yet the government wastes time on motorbike education campaigns, despite the overwhelming evidence that they don’t work[1].”

“On average, the risk of being killed or injured in road crashes is 21 times higher for motorcyclists than for car drivers over the same distance travelled.”

“As we age, our reaction times slow, and our ability to control a large motorbike drops substantially. There needs to be a much tougher testing regime for all riders, which gets tougher the older you get and the larger the motorbike.”


[1] Fifty years of credible studies have shown convincingly that advanced driver and rider training doesn’t reduce accidents. In fact, advanced driver and rider training has often been linked with an increase in deaths and injuries, because the people attending these courses tend to become overconfident. 

Multiple studies have also shown that asking people to drive or ride safely is an expensive waste of time.

These issues are summarised here:


• Clive Matthew-Wilson has been actively campaigning on road safety and consumer issues for 25 years. Mentored by engineer Chris Coxon (former technical chair and founding member of the Australian New Car Assessment Program – ANCAP), Matthew-Wilson was the first person to publish crash test results in New Zealand. His research into seatbelt upgrades was awarded by the Australian Police Journal. Matthew-Wilson is a strong supporter of pedestrians’ and cyclists’ rights and has helped shape many major road safety policies in New Zealand.

Clive Matthew-Wilson was the founder of