The aim of the council’s road safety activities is to reduce the incidence and severity of crashes in the district. In line with the Government’s Road Safety to 2010 strategy, our initiatives for safety address engineering, education and enforcement issues.
A Safety Management System and Road Safety Strategy has been developed to address these issues.
Safety Management System
The Safety Management System (SMS) was developed in conjunction with Land Transport New Zealand, in response to the “Road Safety to 2010” strategy.
The SMS is a document that lists the strategies and policies that guide decision-making about activities on the council’s roading network. Its aim is to provide the framework to:
- Ensure safety is present in all decisions regarding our roading network
- Reduce the occurrence and severity of harm to all road users
- Focus our efforts where they will have greatest impact
The primarily focus of the Safety Management System is on engineering operations, but it is also relevant to education and enforcement activities. Minor Safety Improvement works are engineering initiatives targeted at reducing actual crashes or the tangible threat of crashes.
The road safety co-ordinator works closely with both local and neighbouring communities to help them develop and implement educational and promotional initiatives. While the Police carry out enforcement, council staff work closely with them to co-ordinate other safety initiatives.
Road safety strategy
In the year 2009 there were 203 reported injury crashes on our district’s urban and rural roads (including state highways) which resulted in 302 casualties, including 13 fatalities. The social cost of these crashes in 2009 is estimated to be $109.58m.
In order for Waikato District Council to contribute to national road safety targets and to achieve its own road safety vision of reducing the incidence and severity of crashes in the district, a Road Safety Strategy has been developed and is implemented as an integral part of our Safety Management System in 2007.
The primary goal of the Road Safety Strategy is to “support the national Road Safety Strategy (2010-2020) to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes in the Waikato District”.
The strategy sets out our long-term safety objectives, acknowledges regional and national road safety plans, reinforces the relationship between education, engineering and enforcement and recognises that safety outcomes must be balanced with funding ability.
The key safety issues identified on our roads in 2009 were:
- Speed (not driving to the conditions)
- Loss of control/head on crashes - on bends and straights
- Road and environment factors
In 2010, these issues were reviewed in conjunction with the bi-annual revision of our Road Safety Strategy and all five confirmed as still being our key safety issues for the 2011-2012 Road Safety Strategy. Two new issues were added, namely the problems associated with child restraints and the increasing number of motorcycle crashes in recent years.
Traffic crash reporting
While we makes every effort to provide a safe road environment, it is unable to monitor the network 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Often we are unaware of crashes that have happened in the district and therefore are not able to investigate if any road factors (loose metal, potholes, road signs missing or damaged, etc) are involved. This could result in more crashes with more injuries or vehicle damage. Reporting crashes is important to us and may save lives.
This is your opportunity to help make our roads safer by informing us of minor crashes, or potentially dangerous situations that you have observed. The information will also be used to help us to obtain funding for road improvement works, especially for safety improvements. Generally, if there are no recorded crashes, improvements will not be funded regardless of public perceptions that the road may be dangerous.
By completing the Crash Report form to report a crash, you will be doing yourself and your community a tremendous service.
If you have any queries, please call us on 0800 492 452.