Auckland Transport are now investigating a change in road speed limits following increases to the death toll on Auckland’s roads.
Last year, 749 people were seriously injured and 64 people died on Auckland roads. Statistically, road deaths and injuries on Auckland roads increased at a rate that was three times higher than the rest of the country.
As a way of combating this, Auckland Transport is now looking at the possibility of lowering speed limits at ‘accident black spots’. Lester Levy, chairman of Auckland Transport, indicates that when someone is hit by a vehicle at 30km/h there is a 10% chance of death compared to an 80% chance when hit by a vehicle travelling at 50km/h. As such one potential change being considered is to change the speed limit of specific Auckland roads from 50 km/h to 30 km/h whilst decreasing the speed limit of rural Auckland roads from 100 km/h to 80 km/h
The issue of road safety has become even more prominent after Auckland Transport came under fire at a planning committee meeting where Auckland Councillors criticised the work of Auckland Transport. In particular, councillor Linda Cooper was disappointed about the lack of improvement after the implementation of the regional fuel tax, which helps to fund road safety. The councillors were also disappointed at the lack of information being provided in a report by Auckland Transport regarding the impact of trucks with trailers on the road among other hazards. This led to councillors questioning the motives of Auckland Transport and whether they are truly acting to serve the best interest of Auckland citizens, commenting that many people that have had to go to the media or protest to get Auckland Transport to fix issues in their area.
Overall both the council and Auckland Transport are very disappointed at the high road death toll and there is further disappointment by the Council at the lack of progress made by Auckland Transport specifically.