Ashburton District Council is joining other councils in Canterbury to launch a new speed campaign called 'Is 100k always ok?' to target rural roads users.
Between 2009 and 2013 there were 421 crashes on Ashburton's rural roads. These resulted in 20 deaths, 73 serious injuries and 192 minor injuries. The social cost of these crashes was $139 million.
Council Project Officer Aileen Campbell says driving on rural roads is very different to driving on State Highways.
"Rural roads are narrower with less road marking so the margin for error is less. At the same time activities like stock crossing provide additional hazards," she said.
"Increased traffic volumes on our rural roads have also led to a gradual increase in rural crashes over the last five years," she said.
Crashes where the driver has loss of control or had been driving too fast for the conditions are common in Canterbury and throughout New Zealand.
Miss Campbell says despite lower traffic volumes compared to state highways, 60% of crashes in Ashburton District occur on our rural roads.
In 2013, driving too fast and failing intersection signage was a causal factor in 30% of rural crashes in Ashburton District.
"Drivers using rural roads need to take extra care and ensure their speed matches the driving conditions," she said.
The road safety campaign will include radio and print in local papers over the next couple of months.
Miss Aileen encourages road users to share information and join the discussion about safer driving on rural roads through the campaign's Facebook page.