No fatal crashes on NZ's 110km/h roads since opening 18 months ago
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There have been no fatal crashes on the country's two highways with a speed limit of 110km/h since they opened to the public with the higher speed limit.
It comes after debate was sparked yesterday when the Herald published data from the New Zealand Transport Agency's (NZTA) Mega Maps planning tool which provides authorities with information on speed limits. The maps estimate around 87 per cent of speed limits on our roads are too high for the conditions.
The online risk assessment tool suggests only 5 per cent of the open road should have the current 100km/h speed limit.
The most dangerous roads - 10 per cent of the state highway and local roading network - may see speed limits reduced over the next three years as the NZTA attempts to reduce the nation's high road toll, which currently sits at 171.
However, there was stiff opposition to any proposal to reduce speed limits, with the Road Transport Forum saying it would "slow our economy down".
But Police Minister Stuart Nash said it was about setting the right speed limit for the right road - matching the speed to conditions.
Now, data released to the Herald shows there have been no fatal crashes since two roads were opened at an increased speed limit of 110km/h in December 2017.
State Highway 2 Eastern Link Toll Rd and State Highway 1 Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway have both been 110km/h roads since Monday, December 11, 2017. And in that time there have been no fatal crashes, figures from the NZTA show, and only two serious crashes recorded.
The number of minor and non-injury crashes sits at 17 across the two stretches of highway, with more non-injury crashes recorded on SH1 Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway.
The two stretches of road were selected as the first in the country to go to an increased speed limit because they have some of the best safety features in New Zealand, the NZTA said at the time.
Both have median-barriers and two lanes of direction, which significantly reduces head-on collisions.
The figures appear to support the Mega Maps data, which suggests speed limits should be set to suit the condition of the road, rather than a blanket speed for all open roads.
It will likely renew calls for the Government to invest in roads, to upgrade the quality of the nation's roads in order to reduce the road toll.
Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett yesterday called for more investment in roads to "keep our economy going", and bring the country up to par with other developed nations.
"Most developed countries have faster speed limits because they have better roads," he said. "You run down the roads of course more people are going to have accidents, so let's invest in roads."
This was echoed by National's transport spokesman Paul Goldsmith, who also called for the Government to invest in roads.
However, motorsport legend Greg Murphy said people should stop blaming the country's roads and speed limits for the high number of fatal car crashes and start taking driver training and testing seriously instead.
The former V8 Supercar star and road safety campaigner has previously called for motorists to resit their driver licence tests every 10 years.
"If there is one message that needs to be heard it is to stop blaming the roads and the speed limits and start taking driver responsibility, training and testing seriously," he said.
"The best investment we can ever make in saving lives and reducing the road toll is by putting more resources into training people how to be safer drivers."
- NZ Herald