Three recently released reports by the Ministry of Transport highlight different aspects of road safety.
The first report assessed the social costs of road injury crashes for 2013. It found that the total social cost of motor vehicle injury crashes in 2013 is estimated to be $3.14 billion. This represents a reduction of $0.3 billion (or 8.6 percent) compared to the total social cost of $3.43 billion in 2012. This reduction is mainly due to a 17.9 percent reduction in the total number of fatalities — from 308 in 2012, to 253 in 2013.
“Last year’s official road toll of 253 was the lowest in 60 years, and the lower social cost mirrors this result,” Martin Matthews, Secretary of Transport says.
The Ministry of Transport has also released the annual motor vehicle crash statistics for 2013, and accompanying fact sheets looking at specific road safety issues such as alcohol and drug use, fatigue and speed.
“These statistics help us assess areas we need to focus our efforts on, as well as showing where, over time, improvements can be seen,” Mr Matthews says.
The third report is Ministry’s annual Public Attitudes to Road Safety survey, which shows high levels of public support for road safety education and enforcement, including the lower alcohol limit for adult drivers.
Last year, 60 percent of respondents favoured a lower legal blood-alcohol limit for driving. In this year’s survey, just over 50 percent of respondents said they never drink before getting behind the wheel, and a quarter indicated they will drink less, now that the lower limits are in place.
“The harm caused by road crashes resulting in deaths or serious injuries has ongoing and lasting impacts on family, friends and communities. This is why road safety interventions, such as a renewed focus on enforcing the speed limit, the lower alcohol limit for adult drivers, and ongoing public information campaigns, are so important,” Mr Matthews says.
Each year, the Ministry of Transport updates the social cost of road crashes and injuries to allow comparison of the costs and benefits of any road safety actions in current dollars. The update also accounts for changes in the mix of crashes by area and severity, and the average number of injuries involved in a crash. To enable comparison with the estimates of previous years, the report also provides an update of the annual total social cost for the past decade.
There is typically a half-year time lag before all the reported number of injuries are finalised in the crash analysis system. In addition, the social cost update requires analysis of Police records, as well as hospital and ACC claim records, as apart from fatalities, not all serious and minor injuries resulting from road crashes are recorded in the crash analysis system.
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