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Evidence-based decision making needed to bring down road toll

Stephen Selwood CEO of Infrastructure NZ says it is essential that policy changes address the principal drivers of declining performance if we are to have any hope of turning the road toll around.

“New Zealand’s road safety performance, as measured by road deaths, steadily improved from the 1980s right through until 2013. The improvement was significant, with some 12,300 lives between 1990 to 2012 ‘saved’ due to the reduction in annual road deaths over these 22 years.

He says “Analysis from Infometrics undertaken in 2013 found that 10,000 of these ‘saved lives’ could be explained by three factors:

  1. Improvements in vehicles, including better crash performance and fewer motorbikes (45 percent);
  2. Improvements in infrastructure, including more and better roads (19 percent); and
  3. Improvements in driver behaviour resulting from things like breath testing, advertising and speed monitoring (36 percent).

“However, from 2013, our road toll began to turn and after several decades of improvement more people started dying each year.

A  copy of the Deloitte report Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the New Zealand Road Toll can be found here.

A copy of the Infometrics report Econometric Analysis of the Downward Trend in Road Fatalities since 1990 can be found here