Road transport

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 »

Do you put money in the parking meter? [POLL]

When I lived in Wellington I’d park my car on the street rather than in car park buildings. I almost never put money in the meter and took the risk of getting a ticket.

I averaged about one $10 fine a week which was really cheap parking.

In Auckland I sometimes do this, and get away with it more often than not…though the fines are a bit steeper, and there are some places that it is unwise to even try.

Deborah Hill Cone uses this method too.

I don’t gamble, I don’t take drugs, I pay my GST, but I do have my own secret vice. I never buy pay and display parking vouchers. I just take the punt that I won’t get a parking ticket. And then if I do get a fine – this week $12 for five hours in the hairdresser on Ponsonby Rd – quite reasonable really – I just put it in the pile and later go online and pay them all at once.

This seems to work quite efficiently as a system. It bypasses the time and effort of standing in a line and finding change or trying to work the complicated texting option. It also gives me a wanton buzz of being naughty and, just for a moment, defying the Big Brother machinery of bureaucracy; the cheap thrill of rebellion alone is probably worth the price of any parking tickets I incur.

And every time you return to your car and find there is no fluttering ticket under your windscreen wiper you get a little frisson of victory. Yes!    Read more »

Andrew Little Promotes the Nanny State

Arts, Travel & Lifestyle blogger David “Pinko” Farrar has interrupted his hectic travel schedule to point out that Andrew Little has decided to continue promoting the Nanny State.

Stuff reports:

Labour leader  labelled the review “flakey”.

Police needed time to investigate the circumstances of each accident, before leaping to any conclusions, he said.

“[For Woodhouse] to go onto a talk-back show and get roasted and decide you are going to do something then it looks, frankly, just a little bit flakey to me,” Little said.

“If there is a debate about whether there should be a more varied range of speed limits – some open roads can accommodate 110km per hour and some can’t – that is a separate debate and we should have that at some point.

“But I am a little bit uncomfortable about this climbing into the police for enforcing the speed limits.”

Little backed police, saying he saw no problem in  “sending a signal when you know that there are peak travel times, saying that you are going to strictly enforce the law.”

So Labour’s policy is that you should be ticketed for driving at 101km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone if it is a holiday period!

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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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Road toll double last year despite Police crackdown and perfect weather conditions

It hasn’t really rained in most of the country for damn near two weeks.

The weather forecasters got it wrong over New Year, and basically the roads have been dry for the whole holiday period.

The police have focussed on speeding, so much so that the average holiday speed on the open road is adding hours to trips.

And yet the road toll is now double what it was last year and will likely be more than that with one day left.

The holiday road toll now stands at 14 – double last year’s – with the latest fatality occurring after a car hit a tree in Canterbury last night, killing its male driver.

The Toyota saloon ran off on Lake Road at Leeston, near Lake Ellesmere, and struck a tree at around 11.20pm. The driver, who is expected to be named later today, was found dead at the scene, police said.

With many holiday-makers preparing to head home, the nation’s road policing chief, Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff, issued a plea for drivers to be vigilant. “Families have enjoyed time away and now they should give themselves plenty of time to reach their destination,” he said.

They’ll need plenty of time because the cops have parked themselves at the end of every passing lane, frightened drivers so much they drive between 80-95km/h…and all for nothing.

Last year’s Christmas-New Year road toll was seven, from a total of 193 reported injury crashes. But the official holiday period was three days shorter than this year’s – which ends at 6am on Monday.

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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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Zero tolerance on speed and lower booze limit have worked a treat haven’t they?

The road toll is already the same this holiday period as it was for the whole of the holiday period last year….and there is still 7 days to go.

The Police went all in on their focus on speed and have lost the trust of the motorist in the process.

Now with the dual focus appearing to have failed questions must now be asked as to why the Police are focussing so heavily on speed when the holiday toll is now higher, and the over all toll is some 50 people higher than last year.

Fairfax reports:

The North Canterbury road toll has climbed to three today after a woman died when a car and truck collided in Greta Valley.

Police said an elderly occupant of the car was killed and a child had been taken to hospital after a crash at about 4.30pm today.

Details of how the crash happened were not being released.

The death is the third on North Canterbury roads this holiday season. A 56-year-old motorcyclist was killed near Culverden on Sunday morning, and Jamie Shane Webb, 25, was killed when he was electrocuted after a crash near Glentui on Saturday.

With seven days to go until the holiday period is over, the national road toll is now at seven.

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Rodney Hide shows us why we should learn algebra at school

I was dreadful at algebra at school, still am.

I could never see any point to it, especially with the stupid questions like “if train A travels at 90km/h and train B travels at 100km/h and train A leaves station C and train b leaves station D at the same time will they both reach station e at the same time” or some other crap like that.

My answer, which turned out to be wrong every time, was “Check the timetable”.

I digress…Rodney Hide has shown proper use of algebra in slamming the Police’s stupid insistence on zero tolerance of exceeding the speed limit.

Overtaking on the road safely and within the law is now all but impossible.

The speed limit on the open road is 100km/h. The police are applying zero tolerance. You can now be ticketed at 101km/h. The speed limit for heavy vehicles and cars pulling caravans, boats or trailers is 90km/h.   Read more »

How long before Len tries this here?

Len will be looking for something else now to control us and to raise even more taxes..

What better way than to have a congestion charging and add on a special tax for diesel vehicles….so he can tax his own buses he will try and force us onto.

London will follow Paris and introduce an outright ban on diesel cars which are causing “serious health damage” in the capital, campaigners warn.

The Mayor of Paris has announced radical plans to ban diesel cars from the French capital by 2020 due to concerns about how much pollution the cars cause.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is also grappling with the issue of how to tackle pollution from the fuels fumes which contain tiny particles and nitrogen oxides and have been increasingly proven to be seriously damaging to health.

France, which has the highest number of diesel cars on the road, will now ban the cars out right with Anne Hidalgo, the Parisian Mayor pledging “an end to diesel in Paris in 2020″.  Read more »