This page answers some common questions about speed management and the Tackling Unsafe Speeds programme.
Q/ Will there be blanket reductions to speed limits?
Speed management reviews will be focussed on high risk roads and roads where communities have expressed strong support for safer speeds. In these areas, road controlling authorities will be required to consider whether engineering improvements or speed limit adjustments make the most sense.
There will be no change to default speed limits on the network, although there will be new requirements for safer speed limits outside all schools.
The Government is investing $1.4 billion over three years in the Safe Network Programme, led by the Transport Agency, which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries across New Zealand’s highest risk state highways and local roads. This signals the Government’s commitment to making our roads safe, working in partnership with local government and the wider safety sector to find the right safety solutions for each region.
Q/ How will the new regulatory framework affect me?
The new framework will primarily affect councils and the Transport Agency and how they plan, consult on and implement speed management changes. The aim is to improve the process by removing some of the confusion and encouraging regional collaboration.
However, the new process will also improve transparency and accountability to the public. Speed management plans will provide you with better information, allowing you to see and comment on all speed management and infrastructure proposals for the next few years across your whole region.
Q/ Why are you focussing on implementing lower speed limits around schools when deaths and serious injuries around schools are relatively low?
The motivation for focussing on lower speed limits around schools is to improve safety and to encourage more children to take active modes of transport to and from urban schools.
While crashes tend to be relatively low around schools, they still occur. Motorists should be travelling at safe speeds past schools, particularly during peak hours in the morning and afternoon.
Q/ Why are speed limits outside schools on rural roads higher than outside schools on urban roads?
Urban schools are typically located on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h, while rural schools are located on roads with a variety of speed limits, including up to 100 km/h.
The risks and safe speeds are different for urban and rural schools. Generally, there are more people walking or cycling near urban schools and, for rural schools, turning traffic poses the greatest road safety risk.
It is intended that road controlling authorities will have the discretion to determine how these safer speed limits around schools are implemented. The details of transitioning to safer speed limits around schools will be further developed and consulted on as part of the rule change.
Q/ Are you going to roll out more speed cameras?
As part of the new Road to Zero road safety strategy, we will be considering investment in safety cameras on the highest risk parts of the network alongside other safety interventions. Camera locations will be well-sign posted so that road users have advanced warning they are approaching a camera.
We want to make sure everyone is travelling at safe speeds on the highest risk parts of the network, not catch people out with a speeding ticket.
Q/ Sweden has more people, better quality roads, and many more high-quality highways and expressways – will the approach work here?
Sweden has made significant progress in improving road safety and yes, many of their roads are safer and more appropriate to travel at higher speeds on. Sweden’s road toll per capita is only one third of New Zealand’s road toll.
And this is why Sweden is a good model for New Zealand to follow. We are going to invest in safety improvements on our key high-volume roads and we’re going to review speed limits on our lower volume, high risk roads. A key part of this approach to improving our poor road safety is to enforce the posted speed limit. We expect the new approach we are considering to safety cameras will better ensure people are travelling at safe speeds on our highest risk roads.