Call for Vision Zero to be adopted for NZ to bring down road toll
With the number of road deaths currently increasing in New Zealand, a group of organisations has come together to call on Government and local authorities to adopt a Vision Zero approach to road safety – aiming for zero road deaths and injuries. The #VisionZeroNZ campaign was launched at the 2 Walk and Cycle conference recently held in Auckland. Vision Zero is an approach used in a growing number of countries and cities around the world and at its core is the principle that life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within society.
The calls come from Brake, the road safety charity, Cycling Action Network, NZ School Speeds, Waitemata Local Board Deputy Chair Pippa Coom, and Walk Auckland, who jointly held a workshop on Vision Zero at the conference.
The organisations say NZ needs to go beyond the current safe system approach by aiming for Vision Zero and creating a safe, sustainable, healthy and fair transport system for everyone.
Already this year 181 people have been killed on NZ roads, a 5% increase on the same time last year and continuing a worrying trend of increases to the number of road deaths over the last two years. Vision Zero (also known as Target Zero) is a proven strategy to bring down the road toll and ultimately bring an end to road deaths and serious injuries.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set challenging targets, including some for road safety and sustainability:
Halving the number of road deaths and injuries worldwide by 2020
Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from air pollution
Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all
Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ director, said: “Working with bereaved families, we see the devastating consequences of crashes, and all of these deaths are preventable. We need action now to reduce our road toll and will shortly be releasing our campaign agenda for Vision Zero. This approach is reducing road deaths abroad and it’s vital we have it in NZ and show that the only acceptable number of deaths on the road is zero.”
Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network spokesperson said: “Safety is no accident. It's time we moved beyond the Safe System approach, which is past its best-by date. With road deaths increasing this year, we need to adopt Vision Zero, and protect people.”
Lucinda Rees, NZ School Speeds, said: “Make roads safer with consistent and safe lower speed limits so that all can travel safely, and children have the opportunity to journey to school on foot or bike. Action is needed now.”
Pippa Coom, Deputy Chair, Waitematā Local Board said: “For too long politicians and transport planners have accepted road fatalities are inevitable. We urgently need a new approach that is proven to work. The Local Government elections coming up in September is an opportunity to vote for candidates who support Vision Zero.”
Abby Granbery, Walk Auckland, said: “Vision Zero (or target zero) is a key component in making Auckland the world's most liveable city. We must inject vitality into our streets. This is only possible by ensuring an environment where Aucklanders feel and are, safe to play, work, and live.”
Organisations and individuals with an interest in Vision Zero are urged to find out more and get involved by contacting the organisations above, or going tohttps://www.facebook.com/groups/VisionZeroforNZ/
Media enquiries please contact Caroline Perry on 021 407 953.
Notes to Editors:
 Total road deaths in NZ by year:
2016 (as at 15.07.16) - 181 (a 5% increase on this time last year)
2015 - 319
2014 - 293
2013 - 253
2016 stats from NZ Transport Agency road death statistics
Historic data from Ministry of Transport annual road toll reports
Cycling Action Network: www.can.org.nz
NZ School Speeds: www.facebook.com/NZSchoolSpeeds
Walk Auckland: www.walkauckland.org.nz
Vision Zero Auckland: www.visionzeroauckland.org
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.