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New Zealanders' perceptions on risk on the road

This year, the NZ Transport Agency undertook national and regional research to explore community perceptions of road risk.

In 2016 we found conversations focusing on speed were highly polarised and unproductive. The key insight was that the productive place for public conversation focused on roads and road risk.

In 2017, we sought to understand individual attitudes to road risk and the impact that conversations and understanding of risk might have on safer choices.

Key insights

Road deaths are having a serious and lasting impact on communities.

New Zealanders care about this issue – Improving road safety is in the top five of issues for most communities and many believe road risks are getting worse.

Only 1 in 5 believe enough is being done to reduce risk.

However 1 in 3 believe road deaths are unavoidable.

Are communities having conversations about road risk?

Most communities are talking about road risk/ road safety. Over a quarter of these conversations occur publicly (in media, workplaces, sporting clubs etc).

Many agree that conversations can improve safety, but many don’t agree that the risks that are being currently discussed are the right ones to do this.

Do communities understand local road risks and solutions?

Only 43% of New Zealanders tell us that they confidently identify a local road risk.

Communities acknowledge their understanding of local road risks and solutions is influenced by biased and incomplete information, for example media or word of mouth. Communities tell us they need a better understanding of local evidence, to improve their knowledge of local road risks and potential solutions.

Are safer choices being made and supported?

While most believe they always reduce their speed to match the risk on the road, over half admit to sometimes exceeding posted speed limits.

There is a high level of support for improving enforcement, encouraging drivers to take more care and improving the roads.

What about speed?

Most agree that:

  • speed should match the road risk
  • speeding is not safe
  • enforcement improves safety.

1 in 3 believe some speed limits are not safe and find it hard to tell what a safe speed is.

Despite this, most drivers speed at least some of the time, and almost all say they reduce speed to match road risk.

With most preferring that roads be improved to avoid speed limit reduction.

2017 research

Research updates

Regional research summaries

2016 research

Partners

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