110km/h roads 'perfectly safe' - safety campaigner

The speed limit on two North Island roads is being boosted to 110km/h an hour next month, but motoring experts say it shouldn't result in a higher road toll.

From December 11, Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road (SH2) and the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway (SH1) will see the new speed limits.

Motoring magazine editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says these roads are purpose-built to drive faster, and will actually reduce the number of crashes.

"The consequences of any accidents that might occur have already been allowed for - median barriers, roadside fencing, surfaces that stop you from skidding unnecessarily - they've been built into these roads," he told Newshub.

Though many motorists already drive at 110km/h, believing they'll get away with it, Mr Matthew-Wilson doesn't believe they'll use the new speed limit as an excuse to go 120km/h.

"Anyone who thinks they're going to get away with driving 120km/h on a 110km/h road is deluding themselves. They're just going to end up with a speeding ticket."

This year's road toll has already overtaken 2016's - 332 for the calendar year, and 370 in the last 12 months.

Mr Matthew-Wilson says 80 percent of road fatalities occur below the speed limit - it's the quality of the road and the environment that dictates what is safe and what isn't.

"Obviously on your driveway at home, 5km/h could be really dangerous - you could back over a child. On the other hand, on a purpose-built road that was designed for travelling at 110km/h, that's perfectly safe."

There have been no fatalities on either of the roads since they opened.

The new speed limits have also been welcomed by the AA.

"New Zealanders expect speed limits that sensibly reflect a road's risk and these are two of the safest roads in the country so it makes sense to raise the speed limit on these roads," said AA motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon.