The recent Annual Monitoring Report regarding the Government’s Road to Zero strategy made some misleading claims, stating they were on track towards a target of reducing the road toll by 40 per cent within eight years.
It highlights an 11 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries since 2018 but conveniently glosses over the fact there have been fewer deaths on the road in the past two years thanks largely to Covid lockdowns. And not recognising that the data is affected by the Covid response is incredibly misleading. It’s as if they are trying to cover up the fact they have failed on all their KPIs concerning the rollout of safety infrastructure such as median barriers.
People are fed up with the NZTA and are quite perplexed with Road to Zero. That’s why I feel compelled to keep the pressure on them. Otherwise they will just keep spending millions of taxpayer dollars and achieve next to nothing. And that’s just not acceptable.
The creation of incredibly woke, hard-to-understand TV ads that they expect will lead to a change in behaviour on the road is just lunacy. We still have people drink driving, not wearing seatbelts and driving too fast for their ability. No one is watching that advert and then doing something to improve their behaviour on the road. People aren’t suddenly thinking, “You know what, I’m going to change the way I drive and be more respectful of other road users. I’m going to stop using my phone and I’m going to buy a safer car”. No one is changing what they do on the road but that’s the key thing the NZTA is pushing; we will just tell people to change their driving habits and magically it will work. That’s just not going to happen.
With a growing population and a continuing need for vehicles, people will continue to drive, and yet we’re not doing any form of driver training. There is still this refusal to improve the abilities and the skill sets of drivers. Therefore this Road to Zero strategy just becomes more and more ludicrous. Most New Zealanders think the NZTA is in La La Land.
It seems as if all those within these Government agencies are programmed via the central machine to believe that we can do this, and they’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it. While that’s a positive way to enact change, the sad reality is there seem to be fewer people within the layers of bureaucracy who have genuine experience in these fields. And there is a lack of experienced decision makers who understand what the issues are. They are still focused on the same old things, which have achieved very little in the past. The difference is that this group of agencies and departments have all signed up to this mandate and they will not waiver. While that determination is a good thing, they aren’t doing anything tangibly different to what has been done in the past. And the money that is being spent on this, and literally achieving nothing, seems to be more than ever before. There doesn’t seem to be any willingness or ability to adapt or refocus on something different, which is what we desperately need. And that’s the terrifying part, they just are not listening. And they will continue to spend and spend on the same things and they will get the same result.
They refuse to change the licensing system, to bring in a more learning-oriented system, one where you actually have to engage with the fundamentals of safe driving. We only require people to be able to drive a car on the road while remaining within the law; we don’t require them to be a safe or skilled driver.
So how do you expect better results if we haven’t changed anything?
The NZTA wants to put up safety barriers all over the country, and there are many places where we need that investment in safety to hopefully change the outcome when someone makes a mistake. But why aren’t we creating an environment where people are doing a better job of driving in the first place so people don’t have to rely on these systems for a better outcome. The NZTA doesn’t want to know about trying to change the way people are actually driving through training and a skills-based approach. But that’s a topic for another day.