$22.5 million of well intended, misguided money


A few days ago, Parliament announced $22.5 million to be targeted at roadside kerbing, rumble strips and other measures to remind road users of where they are in relation to road safety. It followed earlier announcements by Minister for Transport Julie Anne Genter of an intention to crack down on the New Zealand road toll – something I tend to refer to as the “Grim Reap”.

Tragically the money is misguided. Yes it will hopefully make those roads a little bit safer than they were and if we are really lucky save a few lives along the way.

But I think New Zealand needs a reality check. This is not even a band aid over a major wound material. It will not in any way stop

I work for a rental car firm on the corner of Orchard and Wairakei Road in northwest Christchurch near the airport. On Saturday 16 December there was a non fatal vehicle collision on that road involving a rental car The occupants all went to hospital and we are waiting to see what exactly happened. None of the measures would have stopped this.

I know Labour intend good and that is great. But there are some things money or compassion or training will never fix. There is no alternative to driving carefully. If someone hits you, that is sad and wrong, but it was NOT your fault.

Without being there yesterday, and based on the previous several crashes there in the space of just a few years – and having been assured of several more that I was not witness to, I want to raise the issue of someone having failed to give way. Giving way is a basic procedure in the New Zealand Road Code. Road Code 101 in other words. You can have the most sophisticated safety measures, but if people do not carry out due diligence and take appropriate care, I think herein probably lies the source of a large portion of the total road toll. Solve it and our road toll will be MUCH lower.

The question that the reader needs to ask is simple:

Are we willing to understand this? IF not WHY not?

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