Changing the Culture of Speed on New Zealand Roads
In 1999 in New Zealand, 153 people died and 2095 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in which travelling too fast was a contributing factor. This makes speeding the major contributing factor in road trauma and consequently one of this country?s major injury or public health issues. New Zealanders in general do not view speeding in the same light as drink driving and are less likely to embrace speed reduction messages.
Attitude surveys show that twice as many New Zealanders believe they can drive safely when speeding as believe they can drive safely after drinking. In the recent consultation for the New Zealand Road Safety Strategy to 2010 the one issue on which there was almost unanimous support was that the open road speed limit should not be reduced. This poses a tricky community development, public health and road safety question about what to do when the community is looking at the wrong issues. The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has developed a speed education program in collaboration with the Land Transport Safety Authority to provide communities directly with information that allows them to see the local impact of excess and inappropriate speed.
This paper outlines the development of the ACC ?Down With Speed? program and explores the issues relating to the implementation of injury reduction strategies when the community?s culture is not supportive. How do you create an enhanced safety culture and reduce injury concurrently? The paper takes a strategic perspective and looks at issues for those developing injury prevention community based programs.