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National should review safer road strategy

National needs to urgently review its “Safer Journeys” road safety strategy with the road toll increasing for the third year in a row making 2016 the deadliest year on New Zealand roads for six years, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.

“New Zealand’s road toll had been declining for decades but now that positive trend has reversed. Internationally, road deaths continue to reduce so Minister Bridges needs to ask the tough questions about why the carnage has worsened on his watch.

“The Government has taken $15m in new motorcycle safety levies from motorcyclists since 2010 and yet the number of motorcyclists killed continues to climb.

“It is scandalous that just $3m of that money collected from motorcyclists had been spent on safety initiatives by July 2016 – what has happened to the rest? Meanwhile, the carnage continues.

“Reductions in road policing and increasing volumes of freight travelling on roads where the Government funding for maintenance has reduced are obvious threats to road safety that the Government has control over, and yet the Safer Journeys 2016-2020 action plan is silent on these issues.

“Getting freight off our roads and onto the safer modes of rail and coastal shipping should be a priority for improving road safety, but instead road freight has increased by 11.5% and rail freight has reduced by 2.3% between 2008 and 2014.

“That’s another trend going in the wrong direction for road safety.

“The Ministry puts the social cost of death and injuries on our roads at $16.4b from 2010-2015.

“That pales in comparison to the personal grief and tragic consequences for the families and friends who have lost loved ones through road accidents in 2016. They deserve better,” says Sue Moroney.