New report details Kiwis’ attitudes to road safety


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has released the results of a comprehensive new survey of New Zealanders’ attitudes to road safety issues and driver behaviour.

The Public attitudes to road safety - 2020 report details the results of responses provided by over 3,300 New Zealanders to a broad range of questions focussed on specific road safety topics, including attitudes to enforcement, speed, vehicle safety, impaired driving, distraction and driver fatigue, and personal safety.

The survey will be repeated, and the results published annually, as part of Waka Kotahi’s work to deliver the Government’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero, which has a vision of a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.

It sets a target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by 40% (compared to 2018 levels) by 2030. Reaching that target would mean reducing annual road deaths to 227 and serious injuries to 1,680 by 2030. In 2020, 318 people were killed and almost 2,500 seriously injured on New Zealand roads.

Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Road Safety, Fabian Marsh, says the data and insights from the 2020 report will help Waka Kotahi and other road safety partners in the planning and delivery of Road to Zero.  

“The better we understand Kiwis’ attitudes and behaviour around important road safety issues, the more effectively we can build public understanding and support for the changes we all need to make to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

“The target which Government has set for 2030 isn’t abstract or arbitrary—if we can achieve it, it will mean approximately 750 fewer people will be killed and 5,600 fewer will be seriously injured on our roads over the next 10 years. These are real people in our communities, our workplaces and our families. Every New Zealander has a part to play in making our roads safer, through the choices we make and through the actions we take,” says Mr Marsh.

The survey found 15% of respondents believe more than 200 deaths on our roads each year is acceptable.

Mr Marsh says this demonstrates the opportunity to collectively change New Zealand’s perception that the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads is an acceptable price to pay for our ability to get around.

“New Zealanders would be horrified if 318 people had died last year in a plane crash, or plane crashes. There are things we can do to change this situation on our roads.

“Everyone makes mistakes, but these mistakes shouldn’t cost us our lives. Collectively, we have the power to create a safe system which allows for human error, so when mistakes happen, people aren’t killed or seriously injured. And, of course, each of us has the individual responsibility to make the right decisions like buckling up, driving sober and at a safe speed, and following the road rules.”

Read the full public attitudes to road safety - 2020 report

Road to Zero strategy and action plan(external link)



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