The 2020-30 New Zealand Road Safety Strategy highlighted the role that speed management plays in improving our safety record. However, such changes to speed limits remain polarising, with many people sceptical of their effect on safety and wary about their impact on productivity and convenience.
A significant challenge to date has been presenting suitable local evidence of the safety benefits of lower speeds. There are few case studies so far (which tend to be relatively small or introduced relatively recently), making it difficult to ascribe statistical significance to individual reductions in casualties so far. There is also much more resistance to lower speeds on rural roads, despite their greater overall contribution to road deaths.
At the 2023 Australasian Road Safety Conference, Glen Koorey presented a think-piece introducing the current state of play around setting and changing speed limits in NZ, discussed some of the existing challenges to seeing more speed limit changes being enacted, and suggested ways to address these. The full presentation can be found here (13MB PDF).
2023 Australasian Road Safety Conference, Cairns