Brake, the road safety charity, has expressed concern following the New Zealand Government’s announcement that speed limits could be raised on some roads.

Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ director, said: “Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes and casualties. The faster you’re travelling, the greater your stopping distance is, the less time you have to react to an unexpected hazard, and the bigger the impact in the event of a crash. This could mean the difference between life and death.

“We’re extremely concerned that an increase in speed limits could lead to more deaths and serious injuries on our roads, at a time when those numbers are already on the increase. Whilst we might have some roads that have a five-star rating, this is just one area of the safe system. New Zealand has an older vehicle fleet, not everyone has five-star rated vehicles with all the accompanying safety features. And over 90% of crashes are caused by driver error.”

Brake is also concerned that some drivers would choose to break a 110km/h limit, both breaking the law and putting lives at risk by travelling at even higher speeds.

However, the charity adds that it does welcome the announcement that the speed management guide will also help local authorities to reduce speeds on some roads, and to work more closely with communities in this process.