Decreasing the rates of transport-related death and injury, and other harms
The government wants a safer 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 New Zealand suffers each year on its roads.
The government released the Safer Journeys road safety strategy in March 2010 and its first 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 reducing transport incidents and other harms
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 2013-15 action plan across a number of agencies for the National Road Safety Committee. The plan focuses on speed management, ensuring blood alcohol concentration limits appropriately reflect driver risk, drug driving impairment and vehicle safety.
The Ministry will lead implementation of the overall programme, as well as having direct responsibility for a number of actions in the plan.
The Ministry also continues to build its data resource on road safety issues to increasingly enable evidence-based advice to be provided to the government.
The Ministry provides policy advice on various issues that helps to reduce environmental and health 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 2013-15. These are actions that require a joint approach and wider partnerships to be successful.
The Ministry will, as part of a dedicated multi-agency group, develop and implement a national speed management programme. When current research on New Zealand’s blood alcohol concentration limit is completed, we will develop advice on limits that reflect the actual risk that alcohol poses to drivers and riders.
We will advise government on options to reduce impairment related to drug use by moving New Zealand towards a robust, cost-effective approach to random roadside drug screening and testing, as soon as practicable and justified. This will be done by strengthening the current regime, building on existing research, undertaking further research and closely monitoring the effectiveness of drugged driving enforcement techniques internationally.
The Ministry will develop advice to government on options to improve the quality of the vehicle fleet. We will take into account the nature of the current fleet, technological developments, market trends and international experience. Over time, this will lead to cost effective policy measures that will see gradual improvements to safety, efficiency and levels of pollution from vehicles.
Ministry work that helps reduce other harms from transport
The Ministry will continue to 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.