Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: Pampering is pointless

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Police speed camera van on SH1.
Police speed camera van on SH1.

How fast is too fast? It's all in the hands of the wheelholder, generally, but our esteemed Government seems to think that dropping open-road speed limits is going to save Kiwis -- and visitors -- from dying on our roads.

In a Weekend Herald report last Saturday, Transport Agency road safety director Ernst Zollner said lowering the speed limits in open road areas would save lives.

The general open-road limit of 100km/h did not allow for dangerous things such as trees and trenches along rural roads, he said.

For more car news go to nzherald.co.nz/driven

This is the next step in the cotton-wool wrapping of New Zealand drivers, as opposed to tackling the root of the problem -- drivers themselves.

There is a tendency to think that slowing people down is going to save the world, but I'd strongly disagree with this. There are already speed advisories on corners that are deemed dodgy -- why not settle for these, or simple warning signs to tell drivers of potential hazards?

Changing limits all over the shop is simply going to confuse drivers, give revenue-gatherers more sweet spots to lurk in wait for those who are more than a few clicks over the limit, and endorse the thinking that we're not good enough drivers to cope with trying conditions.

And -- especially given recent events with tourists -- when New Zealanders visit overseas and find themselves in, say, 130km/h zones in Italy, or the Northern Territory of Australia where the limits have been dropped (again), how are they going to cope? If someone has been spoon-fed information rather than driving to road and weather conditions instead of becoming a competent driver in the first place, they're never going to leave the bunny run.

There are areas that are great on a dry, or still, day, but when the wind blows or there's a bit too much liquid sunshine things get very difficult. If drivers are incapable of reading the environment they may as well catch a bus. Wake up, Ernst and co, please, for the sake of genuine driver safety, not this weak approach.

•Do you agree with the proposed changes? Let us know below or facebook.com/DrivenNZ

- NZ Herald

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