It's official: our 40km/h zones are keeping us safe

A new study into the state’s 40km/h speed zones clearly show they are reducing deaths and injuries in high pedestrian and traffic areas. 

The study, by the Centre for Road Safety, found there was a 33 per cent reduction in crashes causing serious injuries and deaths between 2005 and 2015, where 40 km/h zones had been introduced. 

Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey said the results show the 40 km/h speed zones help save lives and prevent devastating injuries. They are an important part of our road safety strategy looking to the future. 

“We are now looking to expand the rollout of these reduced speed zones around the state. The Centre for Road Safety will work with Roads and Maritime Services, focusing on locations with high pedestrian activity, especially around train stations, bus interchanges and shopping centres,” Mrs Pavey said. 

“Last year saw a spike in pedestrians dying on our roads with 74 people losing their lives in NSW. 

“This was 13 more deaths than in 2015 and why we need to constantly be looking at ways to keep everyone safe on our roads including incorporating more 40kmh zones. 

“We know that a vehicle that hits a pedestrian at 50km/h is twice as likely to cause a fatality as the same vehicle travelling at 40km/h, which is why speed limits in high pedestrian areas are so important.” 

Crash data shows that over 6,300 people are injured or killed on local streets each year and that many of these crashes involve excessive or inappropriate speeds. We also know that there are clear links between both crash risk and crash severity and travel speeds.

In permanent 40 km/h speed limits locations, the number of people killed went down from 12 in 2005 to one in 2015. 

The number of people seriously injured also dropped from 269 in 2005 to 203 in 2015, proving lower speeds limits provide safer environments for everyone. 

The evaluation looked at locations from the High Pedestrian Activity Areas Program that combines 40km/h speed zones with pedestrian infrastructure like raised crossings and other traffic calming features.