Evidence shows safe speeds are saving lives Evidence shows safe speeds are saving lives

Fewer people are dying on roads where Auckland Transport (AT) introduced lower speed limits more than 18 months ago.

AT has found that roads where speed limits were lowered on 30 June 2020 have experienced a 47 per cent reduction in deaths* in the 18-months following the changes, a reduction in all injury crashes of more than 25 per cent and greater than a 15 per cent reduction in serious injuries on these roads.

Total deaths and serious injuries (DSI) have reduced by more than 20 per cent.

Rural roads where speeds were changed on 30 June 2020 have seen a 71 per cent reduction in deaths and more than a 25 per cent reduction in serious injuries.

Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive Shane Ellison says this equates to a death and serious injury reduction of more than 30 per cent on our dangerous rural roads - where speed limit changes were made.

Mr Ellison says that while these are still early results, AT is confident in the safety benefits that the safe speeds programme will continue to deliver.

“It’s vital that we continue this work. These are not just statistics. These are our family members, our friends, our colleagues - who are losing their lives or sustaining life-changing serious injuries. We must do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t keep happening.”

These results come in as road safety experts Soames Job and Colin Brodie completed Understanding the role of Speeding and Speed in Serious Crash Trauma: A Case Study of New Zealand, published as a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Road Safety.

Key findings from this paper show that more than 70 per cent of fatal crashes in Auckland involve speeding.

“This is why we are doing what we are doing,” Mr Ellison says.

“It’s really simple – the higher the speed, the more likely it is that you’ll die in a crash. The safe speeds programme is saving lives.”

“International research shows us that even small reductions in speed will have safety benefits. At 80km/h, a two km/h reduction is predicted to reduce all injury crashes by five per cent and fatal crashes by 9.6 per cent,” Mr Ellison says.

* Annual figures for the period 30 June 2020 to 31 December 2021, when compared to the prior five-year comparison period.

Speed Impact Infograph