How New Zealand is taking action
Many actions to improve New Zealand’s road safety need to be led by government agencies, so the Ministry of Transport, NZ Transport Agency, NZ Police and ACC are all involved.
New Zealand already has a road safety strategy to 2020 called Safer Journeys which is aiming to address many of the actions called for in the Decade of Action campaign.
The Safer Journeys Action Plan 2011-2012 was released to coincide with the launch of the Decade for Action and sets a roadmap for what will be done over the next two years to implement the Safer Journeys strategy and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
Meanwhile, local government, organisations like the AA and individuals can also play a part. As a start, we can all contribute by being more safety-conscious road users.
How you can take action
Make sure you’re the safest driver you can be by:
What the AA is doing
The AA is a constant advocate for numerous road safety improvements and will be monitoring New Zealand's road safety progress between now and 2020 against the Safer Journeys strategy and the Decade of Action Global Plan.
But the AA is also taking specific actions for the Decade of Action including:
Taking research to a higher level
The AA Research Foundation has been established to contribute to road safety research in New Zealand.
The foundation launched with a two-day symposium on the issues of driver inattention, distraction and fatigue which brought the country’s research community and transport policy makers together along with several international experts to share the latest findings on these issues.
New Zealand has numerous talented researchers undertaking studies with relevance to road safety but, up until this point, their work has received little exposure. In some cases, even other researchers have not been aware of what their colleagues are doing, preventing collaboration and sharing of information.
The AA Research Foundation will help foster better communication and cooperation between the research community and also provide a channel for promoting and publicising results. It will help the AA stay informed of the latest thinking on road safety and we will use this knowledge to help educate our members and influence policy makers.
The foundation is involved in two initial studies itself. One is looking at what low-cost changes to road markings, signage and environmental features are most effective in making drivers take more care on dangerous sections of road while the other is investigating the benefits of teaching people fuel-efficient driving techniques.
The results of the first stage of the research into fuel-efficient driving are available online and indicate that driving in this way not only saves motorists' money but has safety benefits as well.
Challenging the politicians
The AA sent a clear message to all the country’s political parties about how they can make our roads safer ahead of New Zealand's general election in Novembe 2011.
The AA Election Calls listed 10 changes we want the next government to make to improve road safety and explained what benefits they will bring and why. This was sent to every member of parliament and all the government agencies involved in road safety as well as to the country’s media. Our District Councils also distributed it to the election candidates in their area and all the local bodies and organisations they work with.
Our election calls were tailored to reflect the safe system approach, so call for specific actions in each area of safer drivers, safer vehicles, safer roads and roadsides and safer speed. These include increasing the length of the supervised period for young drivers, investing more in road safety engineering improvements, imposing minimum safety standards on the vehicles we import and putting red-light cameras in our major cities.
We will continue to look for other ways to contribute as the Decade progresses.