November 2014 - update on Safer Journeys action plan 2013-2015

Posted by on 13 November 2014

This update looks at the progress on the four strategic actions outlined in the 2013-2015 Safer Journeys Action Plan. It is designed to provide an overview of the current status of the actions.  

Background

The four strategic actions aim to address the greatest challenges to creating a truly safe road system and are intended to be transformative. These are areas where progress has been slow, or where long standing barriers need to be removed. They require joint will, cross agency collaboration, reprioritisation of effort and investment and wider partnerships to be successful.

The four strategic actions are:

  • Develop and implement a safer speed programme
  • Undertake Safe System signature projects
  • Ensure that BAC limits reflect risk
  • Accelerating the exit of less safe vehicles

The National Road Safety Committee is leading the four strategic actions with assistance from partner agencies.

Safer Speeds programme - update November 2014

A national Safer Speeds programme has been developed to achieve the long-term objectives. The evidence based programme has been developed by a multi-agency team, and is designed to increase consistency in the way road controlling authorities and other sector partners manage speeds to support both safety and economic objectives.

The programme aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our road network, while maintaining economic productivity, through speeds that are safe and appropriate for road function, design, safety and use.

To read more about the safer speeds programme, and to view the one network framework and key messages, visit the Safe speeds action plan section of the website.

One network framework of safe and appropriate travel speeds

The one network framework sets out a range of travel speeds (not speed limits) that are safe and appropriate for different kinds of roads, because not all roads are equal. It takes into account road function (classification), design (curviness, intersection density etc.), safety risk (risk) and who is using it, for example cyclists and pedestrians - especially on urban roads.

These speed ranges will be used to achieve greater consistency of speed limit setting and speed management, and to prioritise road safety planning. On some high volume roads with a high collective or personal risk, investment cwould be made to make them safe. For lower volume roads with a high risk, speeds would be managed down to safer levels.

Visit the Safe speeds action plan section of the website to download the one network framework.

Speed Management Guide

Work is underway on a best practice guide for managing speed.  The aim of the guide is to support Road Controlling Authorities to prioritise and consistently manage speed on their networks, using the framework.

Coordinated by the Transport Agency, this is a collaborative effort with NZ Police and Road Controlling Authorities, through local government representation.  This will ensure the guide meets the needs of all those involved in road safety. 

Align the Setting of Speed Limits Rule

A review of the Rule is now underway to promote a legislative framework for setting speed limits that:

  • Better enables the implementation of the one network framework of safe and appropriate speeds, that takes into account improved productivity.
  • Looks to reduce  costs to road controlling authorities and others when implementing actions to support safer speeds.

Campaign to change the conversation on speed

A new national safer speeds communication campaign is now in development.  It will be focused on promoting the fact that ‘not all roads are equal’.  It aims to build understanding of risk and manage expectations about the safe and appropriate speeds for different kinds of roads.

The notion of ‘not all roads are equal’ was researched with the New Zealand public to test the assumption that ‘better informing the public that not all roads are equal’ will help them ‘choose and support appropriate speeds for different roads’.

The research undertaken demonstrated that giving drivers the fuller context of the risks of the roads that they were driving had an impact upon their perception. It also identified that giving information on road and road side hazards can generate acceptance of changing roads and speed limits.

The propostion of ‘not all roads are equal’ will form the basis for the project’s direction moving forward. 

Encourage and support Police to reduce the current speed enforcement threshold

A review of best practice in the use and level of speed enforcement thresholds is underway. The review will include looking at international practice and research.

Rebalance the penalty regime including providing for demerit points on safety camera offences

Currently speed camera detected offences attract only an infringement fee and no demerit points unlike officer detected offences which carry penalties of both demerits and fees. Consideration is being given to applying the same penalties to speed camera detected offences as are applied to offences detected by a Police officer. 

How can I be involved?

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact the Safer Journeys Coordinator at saferjourneys@transport.govt.nz with Safer Speed programme in the subject line.

Signature Programme - update November 2014

There are four projects now underway as part of the Signature programme.

Rural road safety in the Eastern Bay of Plenty

This project is focusing on some of the really difficult issues found in remote rural communities with a combination of road safety problems and risks. 

While the project is still in the scoping stage, work is progressing toward the completion of a community social norms snapshot to understand the community’s thoughts and views on road safety issues, a communications strategy, and planning for a range of community engagement activities.  Themes for the project aim to reduce the risk of death or serious injury on the roads in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and community participation is a big focus for this project.

One initiative is the development of a safe system ‘Signature Net’ GIS heat map.  The map combines transport and census data to develop a full safe system picture of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. By combining the data sets, community issues that might impact on road safety can then be identified, such as use and access to vehicles, the age of vehicles, use of alcohol, and other relevant information.

High Risk Young Drivers

The aim of this project is to support ‘risky’ young drivers to enter and progress through the Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS), reducing the risk of crash and also reducing the high levels of offending resulting from unlicensed driving and driving in breach of licence conditions.

While the work to date has centred in Mangere, it is envisaged that this project also develop a rural pathfinder thus establishing best-practice for both urban and rural situations.  Once completed, it is envisaged that the best-practice methodology will assist other areas that have similar issues to develop their own successful initiatives to support young higher-risk drivers progress through the GDLS. 

As this project is now partially established, the key focus of the Signature Programme team will be to support the project team to adopt a Safe System approach, and make our expert group available to them.

Future Streets

The Future Streets project, based in Mangere, will demonstrate what New Zealand’s urban streets and connections will look and feel like in the future to optimise road safety and public health outcomes. 

This project is a partnership between the research team, Auckland Transport, Auckland Council’s local Board and the Mangere community.  The vision is that Mangere Central is safe and easy to travel around, especially by walking and cycling, and reflects local identity.  

Technical assessments of the concept designs have been completed by engineers, cycling and public transport specialists. Detailed design of the works will begin in November 2014 taking around three months to complete.

Visiting Drivers

The purpose of this project is to improve road safety to and from visiting drivers, as well as maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as an attractive and safe tourist destination.  The project is focused on the lower South Island, but any successful interventions may be rolled-out nationwide.   Strong collaboration is key to the project with partners including Tourism Industry, Rental vehicle and Automobile associations, Queenstown Lakes and Southland District Councils, Environment Southland, Tourism NZ, NZ Police and Ministry of Transport. 

Work completed to date includes a trial of a ‘steering wheel tag’ resource, installation of signage on key visitor routs, and the Tourism Industry Association NZ has released “Safer Journeys: NZ rental vehicle operators guidelines for communicating with visiting drivers”.

Future work in the next few months will include conducting a detailed crash analysis of the area and complete a technical assessment of particular sites, working through suggested changes to road signs and markings with the Traffic Control Devices Steering Group and supporting the police summer campaign.

How can I be involved?

If you would like further information about the Signature Programme please contact the Safer Journeys Coordinator at saferjourneys@transport.govt.nz with Signature programme in the subject line.

Accelerate the exit of less safe vehicles programme - update November 2014

In 2013 the project team ran workshops with key stakeholders to identify a range of options, option combinations and approaches that had the potential to accelerate the exit of less-safe vehicles. The focus for the project was on light vehicles manufactured in the 1990s with a one or two star used-car safety rating. 

The project team undertook some further research, and a cost-benefit analysis, which is now complete.

The research confirmed that newer vehicles are safer than older ones. The research found that 1 star vehicles manufactured in the 1990s are involved in 11 percent more crashes than their travel would indicate. By comparison, 5 star vehicles manufactured in the 1990s are involved in 32 percent fewer injury crashes than their travel would indicate.

Despite this, the cost-benefit analysis showed that significant government intervention to accelerate the exit of less-safe vehicles is not cost beneficial. While the government is committed to taking action to improve road safety outcomes, it has to ensure it invests the road safety budget in areas where it can make the biggest difference. The research also showed that by 2020 over half of the target vehicles (58 percent) will have exited the fleet through natural attrition.

The project is shifting its focus to assessing actions that support the natural attrition of less-safe vehicles. These actions include the ideas generated at the workshops. The NZ Transport Agency will progress this work. The focus will be on low-cost actions to improve the information provided to consumers so they can make more informed decisions about the exit and replacement of vehicles. This will build on existing work and examples include:

  • providing targeted advice on easy exit and replacement choices at the point of warrant of fitness failure
  • providing personalised information with relicensing letters that explain easy replacement and exit options for people with less-safe vehicles that have travelled over 200,000km
  • a campaign identifying less-safe vehicles.

It will be supported by wider work that the road safety agencies are doing to improve the overall safety of the vehicle fleet, including the recent announcement of the mandatory electric stability control for all new and used light passenger and goods vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet.

How can I be involved?

If you would like further information about this project please contact the Safer Journeys Coordinator at saferjourneys@transport.govt.nz with Safer Vehicles in the subject line.

Ensure that blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reflect risk - update November 2014

The Land Transport Amendment Act (No 2) 2014 comes into force on 1 December 2014.  The legislation will lower the adult drink-driving limits from 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, to 250mcg. The blood alcohol limit will reduce from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, to 50mg.

The legislation creates a new offence for drivers with a breath alcohol level between 251-400mcg, resulting in penalties of an infringement fee of $200 and 50 demerit points.  For those drivers who refuse or fail to undergo to an evidential breath test, the infringement fee will rise to $700 as well as 50 demerit points.

Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points from driving offences within two years will receive a three month driver’s licence suspension. An infringement offence will not result in the driver receiving a criminal conviction.

Drivers who are over 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, or 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, will continue to face criminal sanctions, as is currently the case.

Under the new law, most drivers who undergo a blood test will be liable to pay the blood test costs, regardless of the result of the test.

Blood test costs include a blood test fee of $109.25 and associated medical expenses.

Drivers who face a $700 infringement fee because they failed or refused the evidential breath test will not be liable for blood test costs as these costs are covered by the higher infringement fee.

The zero alcohol limit for drivers under the age of 20 years remains the same.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Transport’s website www.transport.govt.nz/legislation/bills/land-transport-amendment-bill-2013

How can I be involved?

If you would like further information about this project please contact the Safer Journeys Coordinator at saferjourneys@transport.govt.nz with BAC in the subject line.

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