Cause for concern in latest road safety figures - AA

28 July 2022

Cause for concern in latest road safety figures - AA

The AA is concerned at a bounce back in deaths on our roads this year, following the release of the Government’s latest annual Road To Zero monitoring report.

The report shows that the number of deaths and serious injuries from road crashes in 2021 was 11% down on the 2018 baseline and on track towards the target of a 40% reduction by the end of the decade.

Unfortunately, 2022 has seen the numbers of people dying in crashes jump back up to currently be on track for about 350-360 deaths this year.

“The last two years have seen less deaths and serious injuries on our roads but they also were years where the Covid pandemic caused massive changes in how people travelled so it’s very likely this has played a key part in the reductions,” says AA Road Safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“2022 has seen a return to more ‘normal’ life without lockdowns and restrictions and sadly the number of deaths on our roads is on track to be substantially higher than the last two years.

“What’s even more concerning is that this increase in road deaths has come at the same time as record high fuel prices, which would normally be expected to see less crashes due to less driving taking place.

“So it is hard to be confident right now about how much progress New Zealand has made towards the goal of 40% less deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

“The AA agrees with the vast majority of the initiatives in the Road to Zero programme, we think they’re simply not being rolled out fast enough or on the scale needed,” says Dylan.

The latest Road To Zero monitoring report highlights some areas of particular concern for the AA, with slow progress on upgrading roads with safety improvements like median barriers, improving the safety of our vehicle fleet and challenges for the Police to deliver the level of road policing needed.

“The report shows a lot of areas where we need to be doing better. The Covid pandemic has absolutely made progress harder and slower on a number of fronts but, now that we are hopefully leaving the worst of that behind us, we need to see a big lift in work to improve our roads and police enforcement around things like drunk and drugged driving,” says Dylan.

“Many of our roads and even major highways are not in good shape right now. We need to be investing more into basic maintenance to ensure our roads are up to the standard they should be. We also need to be making more safety improvements to high-risk highways so they are safer to travel on.

“Adding a median barrier to a highway will generally mean a 60%+ reduction in fatal and serious crashes but the report shows we only added 13km of median barriers in the last year. We have to increase the installation of median barriers substantially to make a real difference.”


The 2021 Road To Zero monitoring report is available on the Ministry of Transport website:

For more information contact:

Dylan Thomsen
Road Safety Spokesperson
New Zealand Automobile Association
M. 027 703 9935

The New Zealand Automobile Association is an incorporated society with more than 1.6 million Members. It represents the interests of road users who collectively pay more than $2 billion in taxes each year through fuels excise, road user charges and GST.

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