The 2012 Fieldays will see Waikato and Waipa District Councils join forces to highlight the need for drivers to slow down on rural roads.
"Drivers need to understand that while 100 kilometres per hour is the maximum legal limit for many rural roads, it is often not safe to drive at this speed,” Road Safety Co-ordinator for the Waikato and Waipa districts Megan Jolly said. “This is because most rural roads are not engineered for 100km per hour.”
Rural roads are often narrow, with little room on the shoulder, loose surfaces, can be undulating and have limited visibility. There are a number of other potential hazards including slow farm vehicles, ditches, stock and power poles close to the road.
The message to motorists from this campaign is clear: Slow down on rural roads – even on straight stretches.
Crash statistics for the Waikato region show just why drivers need to slow down. Between 2007 and 2011, 19 per cent of injury crashes in the Waikato region involved drivers travelling too fast for the conditions. These crashes resulted in 135 deaths, and 393 serious injuries. Of the 1,250 crashes in the Waikato during this period, 709 were on local roads, as opposed to state highways.
The rural speed campaign will be launched from the New Zealand Transport Agency site at Fieldays. It will use an interactive exercise to identify hazards on rural roads, and demonstrate how they are different to highways.
The aim is to get motorists thinking about what is different about rural roads, and what they need to do to deal with the different conditions.
The rural speed campaign echoes similar messages from the Police and NZTA highlighting that all drivers need to slow down, and treat rural roads with greater respect.