Road safety

Garner is onto it with road safety

Duncan Garner talks about the focus on foriegn drivers and the silly ideas to force them to sit tests upon arrival.

Another horror holiday road toll, another round of national angst about foreign drivers.

It must be every motorist’s worst nightmare – rounding a corner to see more than 1000kg of metal hurtling towards you on your side of the road (regardless of the other driver’s ethnicity).

Are we being racist when it comes to foreign drivers? At first glance the numbers suggest there’s good reason for concern.

In 2013 overseas drivers were involved in at least 558 crashes resulting in death or injury. It may have been as high as 800 crashes according to the Transport Agency but they don’t collect data from every crash.

In three-quarters of the incidents, the foreigners were found at fault. Eleven of the crashes were fatal.

Grim reading. But it’s pretty clear the Government isn’t going to buckle and force visitors to sit some sort of driving test before they grab the keys to a rental car and set off on the open road.

Some safety advocates want travellers banned from renting cars unless they pass an online driving test. Some have called for drivers to sit a practical test. But that’s just not “practical” is it?

Where are these people meant to do it? Drive a car around a busy airport car park? And really, how effective would it be.

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Police think it is “shocking” finding people under the new alcohol limit?

I’m starting to wonder about the Police communications strategy.

In just three hours at three different locations in the CBD last night, a team led by Sergeant Chris Painter issued 12 tickets for using cellphones while driving; 22 to “at risk drivers” breaching their licence conditions; 15 to drivers exceeding the speed limit, including 12 doing 11km or more over it; and 14 to drivers for intersection offences such as running red lights or ignoring stop signs.

As well, said Mr Painter, one driver was over the legal alcohol limit, and a “shocking” 34 were just under it.

Why is it “shocking” that people were under the limit…if their blitz was a month ago they would have ben well under the limit…now the limit has dropped and these drivers are still under it…and that is “shocking”?

What drugs are these cops taking? ¬†¬† Read more »

du Fresne: Police burned off goodwill with their zero tolerance scam

Karl du Fresne thinks the Police have well over stepped the mark with their zero tolerance scam run these past holidays.

In fact he says it failed.

Human nature is a perverse thing. It consistently thwarts all attempts to coerce us into behaving the way bureaucrats, politicians and assorted control freaks think we should.

Take the road toll. Since early December New Zealanders have been subjected to a ceaseless barrage of police propaganda about the futility of trying to defy speed and alcohol limits.

Stern-looking police officers have been in our faces almost daily, warning that zero tolerance would be shown to lawbreakers. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has found their lecturing increasingly tiresome and patronising.

Of course the police can claim the best possible justification for all this finger-wagging: it’s about saving lives. But what was the result? The road toll for the holiday period was more than double those of the previous two years. For the full year, the toll was up by 44 on the record low of 2013.

The figures suggest that people crash for all manner of reasons, and that the emphasis on speed and alcohol is therefore simplistic. The police focus on speed and booze because these are easy targets, and when the road toll comes down they can take the credit.

In the ideal world envisaged by ever-hopeful bureaucrats, wayward citizens can be managed much as sheep are controlled by heading dogs. But people will never be harangued into driving safely; human nature is just too contrary.

Besides, police crackdowns are only one factor in achieving a lower road toll.

Improved road design, safer cars, better-equipped emergency services and more immediate medical attention all contribute too. It would be interesting to know, for example, how many lives have been saved because of the use of helicopters to get victims promptly to hospital.

Given that their heavy-handed propaganda campaign appears to have had minimal effect, I wonder if the police will now be humble enough to sit down and review their tactics.

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AA gets it right, stop taxing our motorways with speed cameras

The AA has called for Police to stop targeting soft speeding on relatively safe roads.

Almost half of all tickets from speeding cameras are given out in Auckland, prompting the Automobile Association to urge the police to ease up on targeting low-level speedsters on Auckland motorways and instead focus on higher-risk roads around the country.

The cameras and a decision to lower, over holiday breaks, the usual 4km/h tolerance – and this season even to scrap it – have resulted in a boom in tickets. Twenty-six thousand more were issued each month last year on average than in 2009. That is despite police saying average speeds have dropped.

Last year, an average of 82,000 speeding tickets were issued each month, compared to 56,000 five years before. Much of the increase is down to the crackdown on low-level speeding over holiday periods.

The Police say it isn’t revenue gathering but it is. And Auckland with its extensive motorway network is being targeted as an easy get.

AA spokesman Mike Noon questioned whether focusing on drivers doing just over the limit on relatively safe urban motorways was the best strategy.

“Focusing on low-level speeding on the motorways, we think, is maybe not very beneficial. We’d prefer more focus on higher-risk areas, such as people speeding on State Highway 27 or between Turangi and Taupo.

“We get a bit concerned if there’s too much focus on low-speed tolerances on motorways, particularly since some of those motorways, we think, may move to 110km/h, to reflect the safety of them.”

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Why do the Police keep insisting speed kills?

Yet again the Police are in the media claiming that speed kills.

It doesn’t.

There are literally thousands of race car drivers who are still alive who can attest tot he fact that speed doesn’t kill.

What kills is stupidity, and sudden stops into hard objects.

But the Police keep on insisting speed kills.

When you look at their examples too you find that in one of them that speed didn’t kill, in fact the driver is still alive.

One man was detected driving 240kmh on the Waikato Expressway before he was pulled over.

“This speed is simply reckless,” said Grace.

She said that at that speed it would take 12 seconds and 450 meters to stop – given that the vehicle was in good condition of course.

“If you are travelling at this speed, and something untoward happens up to 450 meters in front of you – the chances of you being involved in a collision are high.”

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Get those foreign killers off the road

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After plowing into the locals for years while we stand idly by in fear of losing someone a tourist dollar, there is some movement.  Maybe.

Police may get the power to ban erratic tourist drivers from the roads as concern grows about the number of fatalities involving overseas drivers.

The death of motorcyclist Grant Roberts left two young boys without a father. They have taken a petition to Parliament asking to make it tougher for tourists to drive here.

Mr Roberts was one of two motorcyclists killed when a young Chinese woman lost control of her car.

Christchurch coroner Richard McElrea¬†investigated the accident and has called for police to be given powers to ban drivers who show a “demonstrable lack of ability”.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is interested in the idea.

“We’re considering all the options that the coroner’s put to us,” he says. “That recommendation in particular I’m interested in and I’ll be talking to the Minister of Police about that one.”

We have to have a better balance where we value the safety of others over the bottom line of tourist operators just a little more.

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Don’t be a statistic

Just a bit of a public service notice I guess, but the Police are implementing their reduced 4 km/h tolerance for this Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Officials are aiming for another fatality-free Queen’s Birthday weekend on the roads and police are warning motorists they will be enforcing stricter speed tolerances and breath-testing just about everybody they stop.

The “Make it to Monday” campaign was launched in Wellington this week, and 254 pairs of shoes were displayed to represent the 254 road deaths in 2013.

Despite 64 injury-causing crashes, no one died on the roads during last year’s Queen’s Birthday Weekend, which road safety agencies are asking all road users to once again strive for.

“Buckling your safety belt, driving at a safe speed and not drinking and driving are three of the most basic, life-saving choices that every motorist has the power to make this Queen’s Birthday weekend,” said road policing Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff.

Already this year, crashes have claimed the lives of 125 people – 24 more than at the same time last year.
In the vast majority of cases, alcohol, speed and not wearing safety belts were factors. Read more »

Ka-ching!

Revenue gathering? ¬†Perish the thought…

An extra 58,000 motorists were caught speeding because of the lower-tolerance speed limit at holiday weekends in the past two years – and police bosses are not ruling out making the policy permanent.

The speed tolerance is normally 10km/h above the limit, but since Queen’s Birthday weekend 2010 has been lowered to 4km/h for holiday weekends when traffic volumes are higher.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show there were almost 115,000 speeding offences recorded on public holidays and over long weekends in the past two years and about half were the result of drivers travelling between 5km/h and 10km/h over the speed limit.

The lower tolerance would have generated a significant amount in fines – police issued a total of 92,503 infringement notices for speeding offences between Labour Day 2012 and last Queens Birthday weekend worth a total of $5.7 million.

If this is genuinely something Police implemented to save lives, then I think demerits for speeding between 5-9 km/hr over the limit is much more sensible.

Last month there were 23 deaths which was the lowest December since monthly records began in 1965.

The previous January had 18 deaths.

“That was extraordinarily low and the first time under 20 since monthly records began. This month is tracking virtually the same, the same number of fatal crashes (12) but one more fatality – so 13 deaths versus 12 at the same time last year. So we are on track at present for the second lowest or lowest January on record.”

The Automobile Association surveyed 10,000 members just before Christmas and found 57 per cent backed the lower tolerance, with 82 per cent wanting police to retain the 10km/h limit for passing lanes and motorways.

It is very hard to argue against safer driving. ¬†But I think the numbers don’t add up. ¬†In spite of the spin, last month had 27% more deaths than the January before. ¬†As a measure to stop deaths this has been a total failure.

 

Source: Andrew Koubaridis at the Herald

And the road maggots wonder why they get run over

Auckland Transport conducted a survey of key intersections to ascertain who the worst red light runners were…and guess what…it’s road maggots.

The Herald in a series pushing the ‘rights’ of 2% of road users have released the details.

Cyclists accounted for 60 per cent of red-light runners surveyed at four Auckland intersections, the city’s transport authority has revealed.

Car drivers were responsible for 37 per cent of 360 red-light breaches observed by Auckland Transport, and buses, trucks and one motorcycle made up the balance.

Right, so those evil truck drivers, generally don;t run red lights…hmmm…while cyclists do…a lot. No wonder they get run over.

Those statistics still don’t stop the road maggot advocates pushing their agenda.

Cycle Action chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert said cars running lights exceeded cyclists at the K-Rd intersection.

She referred to a presentation by a senior Auckland Transport official which won an accolade at an engineering conference, noting many instances of red-light running by cyclists were left-hand turns or motivated by riders wanting to get a head-start on other vehicles for safety reasons.¬† Read more »

China not happy with NZ road safety

Neil Ratley reports

The death of a Chinese woman in Northern Southland has resulted in a high-ranking Chinese consulate member expressing concern for the safety of his countrymen on New Zealand roads.

Li Xin, the Vice Consul General of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Christchurch, says more needs to be done to prevent Chinese citizens from dying and getting seriously injured in New Zealand.

Chinese tourists were the second-largest source of visitors after Australians and were increasingly opting to explore NZ on their own.

As more Chinese people explored the country, many were opting out of organised coach tours and getting behind the wheel of self-drive cars, Li Xin said.

This was especially true of the younger Chinese generation.

A lack of understanding of NZ road rules, road safety and road conditions needed to be addressed, he said.

Mr Li Xin should come drive around east Auckland for a bit. ¬†Kiwis are in constant danger of being taken out by Chinese drivers. ¬†Perhaps the Chinese Government should ensure their citizens have an¬†understanding of NZ road rules, road safety and road conditions before they allow them to come here in the first place. ¬† Read more »