Auckland faces a road safety crisis and we're all responsible

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin wants to see zero deaths on Auckland roads.

GETTY IMAGES Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin wants to see zero deaths on Auckland roads.

OPINION: Auckland is facing a serious road safety crisis.

In 2018, 54 people died and 595 were seriously injured on our roads. While those numbers were slightly lower than 2017, the rate of death and serious injury is still trending up over a five-year period.

We are all guilty of taking our responsibility on the road too lightly at times.

We are all aware of the dangers and yet we become so complacent - forgetting to realise that one small mistake can be catastrophic.

Shell V-Power Racing Team - DJR Team Penske Supercars star Scott McLaughlin has tested Team Penske's IndyCar at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.

As a road safety ambassador for Auckland Transport, I'm passionate about Vision Zero - the goal of zero deaths or serious injuries on our road network by 2050.

READ MORE:
Auckland's most dangerous roads and how to fix them
Road toll increases to the worst it has been in 10 years
Auckland's rampant road toll out of sync with the rest of NZ

Improving road safety is AT's top priority and it's something all road users need to commit to. It takes just one mistake to cause a death on the road, but on the flipside - one positive change from each person could make a big difference towards lowering the rate of death and serious injury on our roads.

This change could be as simple as remembering to turn off your cell phone when you get into your car, or making sure to stay in the moment and not let other drivers rattle you.

AT is delivering a £700 million safety programme to reduce deaths and serious injuries by up to 60 per cent by 2028.

This includes speed management at high-risk locations across Auckland, as speed contributes to all road deaths and injuries.

This is because, whatever the cause of an accident, the severity of the outcome depends heavily on the speed. Driving even a few kilometres slower can make a big difference when it comes to making our roads safer.

Although I drive fast for a living, I'm well aware of the negative effects of speed when it comes to road crashes on public roads.

McLaughlin is the Virgin Australia Supercars 2018 and 2019 series champion and 2019 Bathurst 1000 winner.

GETTY IMAGES McLaughlin is the Virgin Australia Supercars 2018 and 2019 series champion and 2019 Bathurst 1000 winner.

Driving fast on the race track and fast on the roads is a totally different ball game.

The environment is different - the race track is forgiving, safety equipment is top-notch and everyone is traveling in the same direction.

New Zealand roads are often unforgiving and leave no room for error - even the best technology won't stop another car crashing into you.

We all make mistakes, but speed is the one risk that all drivers can avoid.

I'm a proud Kiwi and proud Supercars Champion, but what would make me even prouder is if zero people died or got injured on our roads.

Scott McLaughlin is a New Zealand professional racing driver competing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and Auckland Transport's official road safety ambassador.

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