Decreasing the rates of transport-related death and injury, and other harms.

The government wants a safe transport system

The government has a strong commitment to delivering a safer transport system. Road safety is an important part of this because of the social cost of transport deaths and injuries, and the human cost that results from the number of deaths and injuries we suffer each year on our roads.

The government released the Safer Journeys road safety strategy in March 2010 and its associated action plan in May 2011. These documents set out the government’s vision for ‘a safe road system that is increasingly free of serious injury and death’. They include the new comprehensive Safe System approach to improving safety on our roads over the next decade.

The government also recognises that, through its investment and other decisions, it can help to decrease the level of other harms from the transport system.

The Ministry's role in 'decreasing the rates of transport-related death and injury'

The Ministry seeks to reduce the rates of transport-related deaths and injuries through its policy advice to government across the transport modes. The Ministry’s road safety policy advice covers the four dimensions of the Safe System:

  • safe roads and roadsides
  • safe speeds
  • safe vehicles
  • safe road use.

The Safe System approach differs from traditional approaches to road safety. Rather than always blaming the road user for causing a crash, it recognises that even responsible people sometimes make mistakes in their road use. Given that mistakes are inevitable, we need safe roads and safe vehicles to protect people from death or serious injury.

The Ministry led the development of the Safer Journeys road safety strategy, and coordinated the development of the action plan across a number of agencies for the National Road Safety Committee. The Ministry also leads implementation of the overall programme, as well as having direct responsibility for 34 of the action plan’s 106 actions. The Ministry has made good progress in implementing these and will continue its focus on this area.

The Ministry also continues to build its data resource on road safety issues to enable increasingly evidence-based advice to be provided to the government.

The Ministry provides policy advice on various issues that helps to reduce other non-safety harms from the transport system.

To reduce the harms from the transport system, the Ministry will:

  • implement its Safer Journeys’ actions.

Fewer transport incidents and other harms - Ministry impacts and actions

The Ministry’s intended impacts in this area over the next three years, and the projects and activities that will deliver them, include the following:

Impact 7: Ministry road safety initiatives support a reduction in the number of deaths and serious injuries

The Ministry will implement its actions under the Safer Journeys Action Plan 2011/12. The Ministry’s actions cover the areas of high concern – speed, roads and roadsides, young drivers and alcohol/drugs – and consider new approaches, such as incentives. For speed, this includes considering lowering fines and raising demerits points, and the use of demerit points on speed cameras. For young drivers, we are considering introducing R plates and time-restricted licences to encourage drivers to move through the graduated driver licence system. We will also review the effectiveness of the current drug impairment test and advise on what else we can do to reduce drug-impaired driving.

We will also look at how we can use incentives as a new approach to help us to reduce deaths and serious injuries. This work will examine using financial and non-financial levers to encourage better driver behaviour. Traditionally we have sought to change behaviour using enforcement, education and road engineering. These methods have made significant gains but new approaches and mechanisms, such as incentives, are needed to move towards a safe system.

We will look at how technology can be better used to improve the efficiency of road safety interventions. This will include reviewing our policies on speed and our approach to speed management, for example, use of intelligent speed assistance and greater use of automated speed enforcement.

The Ministry will also coordinate the development of the 2013–15 Safer Journeys Action Plan for the National Road Safety Committee. This will establish the next set of actions across a number of agencies to improve road safety and maintain the momentum developed in this area over recent years.

Other Ministry work that helps reduce non-safety harms from transport

The Ministry will contribute to the whole-of-government climate change response, including advising government on the form and level of its post-Durban programme and binding commitment from 2020 and, more specifically, on the implications for the transport sector.

The Ministry is advising government on amendments to the 2007 Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Emissions. The Rule sets emissions standards for harmful exhaust emissions for all vehicles entering the fleet. The planned changes will ensure that there will continue to be minimum standards in place for used vehicles after the end of 2012.


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