Following the release of the latest annual Road to Zero report by the Government, the AA has expressed its concern for the bounce back in fatalities on our roads this year.
Road-related deaths are on track to total between 350 to 360 this year, after a small downward trend since 2018.
There were 216 deaths on our roads in the first half of 2018, while in 2022, there have been 209 to date. The half-year total in 2020 was 173, while it was 188 in 2021.
This does not bode well for the Government’s Road to Zero campaign which targets a 40 per cent reduction in deaths by the end of the decade.
“The last two years have seen less deaths and serious injuries on our roads but they also were years where the Covid pandemic caused massive changes in how people travelled so it’s very likely this has played a key part in the reductions,” said AA Road Safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.
“But 2022 has seen a return to a worsening scenario without lockdowns and restrictions and sadly the number of deaths on our roads is on track to be substantially higher than for the past two years.
“What’s even more concerning is that this increase in road deaths has come at the same time as record high fuel prices, which would normally be expected to see less crashes due to less driving taking place.
“So it is hard to be confident right now about how much progress New Zealand has made towards the goal of 40 per cent less deaths and serious injuries by 2030.”
Thomsen went on to add that a vast majority of initiatives in the Road to Zero programme aren’t being rolled out fast enough or on the scale needed.
Slow progress on upgrading roads with median barriers, improving the safety of our vehicle fleet and insufficient traffic officers are all factors the AA wants to see improve.