• Wayne Perkins

Do we care about the Road Toll?

And the carnage on our roads continues with April being our highest road toll in a decade.

I commented on my radio show a few weeks ago how I found it to be quite incredible that we seemed to have become immune and almost accepting of what is an horrific death toll.

Not long after the terror attack in Christchurch which resulted in the deaths of 51 of our citizens, there was a week where 26 people (26 people, let that sink in) died on our roads and they barely garnered a mention on the news.

Now it's not the same of course. The terrorism was a despicable calculated deliberate attack on a particular community done to spread hatred and cause division, and the road deaths were accidents. As such, and given the fact that the terrorism was a first for our fair country while road deaths happen with monotonous regularity, it is fair and reasonable that the Christchurch tragedy had a far greater impact on us.

In the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings, our politicians showed that they had the will and ability to set aside their differences for what was perceived to be a greater good and work together on solutions.

One of their solutions was to ban certain types of guns and while I personally think it’s unlikely that banning guns will make New Zealand much safer and the law change might have benefited from a less hurried approach, I think, given the scale of what happened, something had to be done and if people feel safer then that’s probably not a bad thing.

It very definitely showed what parliament can do when they actually want to, the politicians moved quickly because they didn’t want to be responsible for it happening again and that’s fair enough.

But last year hundreds of people died on our roads, this year hundreds more are dying and next year history will repeat itself and yet nothing is changing.

Is it too hard? Is it just accepted collateral damage? Is it just the price we need to pay for driving?

I can’t answer these questions but it seems that our government are quite happy to spend what looks like will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars on a gun buyback to try and prevent another terrorist tragedy.

Don’t the hundreds being killed on our roads deserve the same attempt to protect them?

If we can find a few hundred million and take a punt to try and make people safer from guns, can we not find some money and political will to try and make our roads safer?

Needless deaths, regardless of how they occur, are needless deaths.

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