Half of Auckland's road deaths in 2020 linked to speeding – Auckland Transport

Nineteen deaths on Auckland's roads were linked to speeding in 2020, out of a total 37 deaths. (File photo)

TOM LEE/STUFF Nineteen deaths on Auckland’s roads were linked to speeding in 2020, out of a total 37 deaths. (File photo)

More than half of Auckland’s road deaths in 2020 were linked to speeding, an 11 per cent increase from previous years, a new report says.

Auckland Transport’s road safety progress update, released this week, said while road deaths are down overall, their links to drink-driving and speeding are a cause for concern.

Intoxication was the second highest contributing factor to road deaths. In 35 per cent of road deaths, one or more of the people involved was intoxicated.

There were 37 deaths on Auckland’s roads in 2020, down from 54 in 2018, according to the report.

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Of those deaths, 19 were linked to speeding.

Auckland Transport’s executive general manager of safety Bryan Sherritt said while the data was trending downwards, it was disheartening to see an increase in death and serious injury on Auckland roads.

CHLOE RANFORD/LDR

Tua Marina School students voice their thoughts on the school’s 100kmh speed limit.

Video first published in December 2019.

“Driving at an inappropriate speed and under the influence of drugs or alcohol are emerging as the two main factors,” Sherritt said.

“Many drivers think that they will have the ability to brake if they are confronted by an issue on the road, but more than half of drivers involved in a fatal collision failed to brake pre-crash.

“Speed is the major determining factor in the outcome of every crash.

While speed may not be the cause of every crash, the higher the speed, the more likely that death or serious injury will be the outcome.”

A study from Monash University showed that exceeding the speed limit by three kilometres per hour increases a person’s crash risk by 25 per cent.

In 2020, 800km of Auckland’s roads had their speed limits reduced.

Auckland Transport said feedback from the public showed 61 per cent of respondents supported speed limit changes, while 44 per cent called for stronger penalties for drink- and drug-driving.

Currently, drivers who are caught with a breath alcohol reading between 251-400 micrograms per litre of breath will get an instant fine of £200, 50 demerit points, and be banned from driving for 12 hours.

If their breath alcohol reading is higher than 400mcg, they are liable for prosecution.

For drivers under the age of 20, the breath alcohol limit is zero.

Sherritt said safer speeds were just one part of the puzzle in reaching the ultimate goal of zero deaths on the road.

“Between 2018 and 2020, AT has included four new roundabouts at high-risk intersections, and more than 45 raised pedestrian crossings for busy areas where there are a lot of vulnerable road users in the area,” he said.

Auckland Transport is expected to consult the public on the next phase of the safe speeds scheme in August.

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