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Published: 2009-10-07 00:00:00

The Waikato Regional Transport Committee has sent a clear message to the Government emphasising the need for stronger measures to improve road safety.

The message is contained in a submission the committee has made on Safer Journeys, a national 10-year road safety strategy being developed by the Ministry of Transport.

The Safer Journeys Discussion Document seeks public feedback on a range of possible initiatives that could help to improve road safety in New Zealand, including lowering the legal blood alcohol limit and raising the minimum driving age.

But Transport Committee chairman Norm Barker said the Government needed to strengthen its vision for a safer road system by introducing clearly defined targets for reducing death and injury rates.

“Significant leadership is needed at the highest level to impact on road trauma in New Zealand,” he said.

“We need a top down approach that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the various parties involved with road safety nationally, regionally and locally and sets out an implementation framework.

“Each region should be allowed to determine the most appropriate actions for their area, within the guidance of a national road safety strategy and sound national legislation.”

The committee supported a number of measures outlined in the Safer Journeys discussion document to improve road safety, including:

· lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 (80 mg alcohol per 100 ml blood) to 0.05
· a zero blood alcohol limit for drivers under 20, adults without a full licence and commercial drivers
· random drug testing
· incorporating driver education into the school curriculum
· increased supervised driving hours for new drivers
· compulsory third party insurance linked to vehicle registration
· speed management through engineering, enforcement and education initiatives
· implementing a national review of the speed limit setting process
· introducing demerit points for speed camera offences
· anti-lock brake systems for all new motorcycles.

The committee’s submission aligns with a Draft Waikato Regional Road Safety Strategy prepared by the Regional Road Safety Steering Group that was endorsed by the committee in September.