Rural roads should be 70km/h limit: report

An international report has suggested that reducing the speed limit on rural roads to 70km/h and 30km/h in some urban areas would save lives.

The report, released by International Transport Forum, found that a one per cent increase in average speed resulted in a one per cent increase in fatal crashes.

The release of the report coincides with a record high road toll of 108 after six people died on the roads over Easter.

The inter-governmental think tank recommended the speed limit of 70km/h as the maximum speed a "safe" car can protect the vehicle occupants in a head-on collision.

The 30km/h limit was preferred in areas with a high density of vulnerable road users as the risk of death is about 4-5 times higher in collisions between a car and a pedestrian at 50km/h.

Lower vehicle speeds also reduced negative effects of motor vehicle use such as greenhouse emissions and noise pollution.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the government is looking at a range of road safety measures such as median barriers soon to be announced in the government transport policy statement.

"There are certainly areas that we can hone in on where there's enough evidence to suggest that it would make a difference and that's what we should be doing - relying on the evidence that tells us what will make sure people will be safe on our roads."

National leader Simon Bridges says that reducing the speed limit was "a bit simplistic" and investing in infrastructure like medium barriers saved lives.

"The reality is on the Kapiti Coast they went from dozens and dozens of crashes, some of them fatal and serious injuries too, once they put those medium barriers up - none.

"So that investment in infrastructure makes a really big difference."

Source: Breakfast

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