Crisis meeting as road toll hits a grim milestone

The Associate Transport Minister has called officials to a crisis meeting over the road toll.

It's passed a grim milestone - 328 dead on our roads so far this year. That's the same number that died in the whole of last year, and there are still 43 days to go.

A pedestrian was hit by a truck in a fatal accident south of Auckland on Saturday night.

This year more than one person a day has died on our roads, and we're heading for our highest road toll since 2010.

"It's not acceptable that people should die when they're just going about their lives," says Associate Transport Minister Julie-Anne Genter.

Ms Genter has called together officials from the police, the Ministry of Transport and the NZTA for an urgent meeting on Tuesday.

"I've asked officials for an immediate briefing on what can be done in a short period of time and they've indicated a few areas, so we'll be exploring those and implementing whatever's going to be most effective to save lives."

Ms Genter says some measures can be taken immediately. Some road speeds could be lowered and dangerous roads could be made safer.

"I think it will be worth looking at the most dangerous sections of road in terms of speeds, but really the high-value infrastructure projects can be funded. They're ready to go. We just need to reallocate the money away from lower-value projects."

Hundreds of safety projects have been scoped but are waiting for the green light. They could now take priority over big-ticket and big-money highways.

"For example there's about 500 dangerous intersections in Auckland," says Ms Genter. "Only six of them are currently being worked on."

The AA welcomes the priority the new Government is putting on road safety.

"That's going to be fantastic but it's not easy," says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen. "It's not going to be easy or quick or cheap; it's going to take a lot of hard work."

Ms Genter says she's asked what can make the biggest impact on road safety in a short time, but says the problems have been building up for several years so immediate progress can't be guaranteed.