Change of approach on speed limits can get better public buy-in - AA

12 December 2023

Change of approach on speed limits can get better public buy-in - AA

The Government’s review of speed limit rules will hopefully result in an approach that makes a lot of sense to many New Zealanders, the AA says.  

Before this change, all councils were required to create a speed management plan by March next year for their local road network and these plans had proven controversial in many communities who felt a one-size fits all approach did not meet their needs. 

“Removing this requirement will allow local authorities to be more flexible around what needs to be done to improve safety and efficiency in their areas,” says AA road safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen. 

“The AA’s view is that we will get the best result overall if we have limits that fit the environment. The rules need to make sense to people and have good levels of public support and buy-in, and speed limit reductions need to be used in a targeted way combined with other things that will improve safety like roading upgrades.” 

A recent AA Research Foundation study found there was a significant variation in whether motorists obeyed new limits across several highway sections where speed limits had been dropped to 80km/h. 

“This shows the importance of matching speed limits with the environment, which is key to achieving wide-spread community buy-in,” says Dylan. 

The AA is also pleased to see variable speed limits introduced at schools instead of permanent reductions. 

“This is a pragmatic approach that finds the balance between safety and efficiency. It makes sense to slow down when there are lots of pedestrians outside schools, and because it makes sense more people will comply with those lower limits.” 

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