The Herald reports:
Her comments come after New Zealand experienced its highest road toll since 2009, with almost 400 deaths last year.
This must set a new record in terms of Ministerial impotence.
To claim that nothing the Government does will have an impact for at least 30 years is both pathetic and of course wrong.
The road toll in fact was decreasing for the last few decades. It is only since 2013 that it has started to increase again. So all the Government needs to do is work out what has changed in the last few years.
Now compare the pathetic excuses the Minister is now making with her statement of nine months ago:
No loss of life is acceptable, is the message behind the development of the Government’s new road safety strategy, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.
The development of the new strategy was announced today at the Local Government Road Safety Summit in Wellington.
“As part of the development of a new road safety strategy the Government will investigate setting a target of zero road deaths,” says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.
“I accept that a target of zero death would be audacious, but ambitious targets are need to focus the resources of both central and local government to save lives on our roads.
So nine months ago the Government was saying that we can get the road toll down to zero and that should be out target. Now they’re saying it is all too hard and will take many many decades to make any significant change.
This graph shows the road toll per 10,000 vehicles. It shows the Minister is absolutely off the reservation when she says it takes many decades to make a significant difference. From 1989 to 2013 the road toll declined massively.
If this Government honestly believes that they can’t make any difference to the road toll, then they should resign to allow in Ministers who don’t accept defeat after just twelve months.
Incidentally if your sole focus is to reduce the road toll, this is quite easy to achieve. You merely set a maximum speed limit of say 30 km/hrs. You could even require all vehicles to be fitted with technology to limit their speed,
Of course this would massively reduce the value of road transport and have huge personal and economic costs. So this is why road safety policy is a balancing act. How do you decrease accidents without unduly reducing the benefits of road travel.
You could pass a law requiring no car more than five years old to be certified for use. This would reduce the road toll massively but means that poorer families couldn’t afford cars.
You could upgrade every open road to modern standards with median barriers etc. That would cost billions but would definitely reduce the road toll.
You could increase the penalty for drink driving to mandatory jail time. That would reduce drink driving considerably and reduce deaths.
None of these changes would take decades to work. Some would have an impact within months.
The issue is policy. Do the benefits outweigh the costs.