Auckland Transport is making changes to save lives

Road safety progress update: As Auckland Transport (AT) progresses with the next phase of proposed safer speed limits for Auckland, new data shows that overall road deaths are reducing.

The recently released Vision Zero performance update shows that in 2018, there were 54 deaths on Auckland’s roads; in 2019 40 people lost their lives and in 2020 there were 37 deaths on Tāmaki Makaurau roads.

The report shows that in 2020, speeding was a factor in 51 per cent of road deaths, meaning that the attending police officer selected the category ‘inappropriate speed’ when completing the crash report.

This is why it was so important that AT implemented the safe and appropriate speed limits for around 800km of roads on June 30 2020. (Approximately 600 roads).

Auckland Transport’s Executive General Manager of Safety, Bryan Sherritt, says that while the data is trending downwards, it’s still absolutely devastating that we are losing Aucklanders on our roads each year.

“We still have a long way to go to reach our Vision Zero goal of no deaths and serious injuries on our network. We shouldn’t be losing anyone while they’re simply traveling around our city.”

Mr Sherritt says that AT’s safer speeds work is a vital part of the plan to save the lives of Aucklanders.

Following last year’s speed limit changes, feedback from Aucklanders showed 61 per cent of people supporting the changes overall, with 86 per cent of people supporting lower speed limits near schools and kindergartens.

Mr Sherritt says Auckland Transport’s safer speeds work is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to reaching the ultimate goal of no deaths and serious injuries on the network.

“Between 2018 and 2020, AT worked hard to keep making the network safer. Some of this work included four new roundabouts at high-risk intersections, 28 new red light cameras across the network and more than 45 raised pedestrian crossings for busy areas where there are a lot of children and other vulnerable road users in the area.”

“Other vital work included free driver licensing workshops, a new wire rope median barrier for high-risk Dairy Flat Highway, and a Dominion Road motorcycle safety trial to improve the visibility of motorcycles to turning vehicles. These are just a few of the safety improvements we have delivered for Aucklanders between 2018 and 2020.”

Mr Sherritt says that while safer speeds is a very important road safety component, other pieces of the puzzle need to be in place to make the network as safe as possible.

“Since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there’s been a disheartening increase in death and serious injuries on Auckland’s roads. Driving at an inappropriate speed and under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are emerging as the two main factors contributing to this undesired upswing. We know Aucklanders support having a safer network. Research (Source: Waka Kotahi, Public Attitudes to Road Safety, 2020) has shown that 74 per cent of Aucklanders support much higher fines for using a mobile phone while driving (it’s currently $80); 75 per cent of people support compulsory roadside testing of drivers for drug use; 81 per cent of people agree that compulsory breath testing helps lower the road toll; and 89 per cent of people agree that enforcing the use of seat belts helps lower the road toll.

“As we consult with the public on the next phase of safer speeds, we will incorporate all the public feedback we have received so far, the lessons we’ve learnt and the data we’ve gathered. There’s much more to be done, but we are on the right track.”

Read more about Vision Zero in action