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.”

If you regularly drive the Northern Motorway it isn’t unusual for there to be at least two speed camera vans between Silverdale and Onewa road. Both top spots are just after a bend, hidden behind berms and trees. Both locations are not black spots, it is nothing short of pure revenue gathering.

The other spot they like is at the bottom of the big hill just after Oteha Valley heading north. It is a long, long, long piece of dead straight road with a gentle bend at the end sweeping up past the BP road Stop. There is no danger on that piece of road, it is simply a revenue gathering exercise…and every single day in December leading up to Christmas those three cameras were in operation at some point…mostly at least two of them.

Here is the real kicker though…we have an open road speed limit of 100km/h…and police actions have now driven the average speed on the open road to around 95km/h.

Mr Cliff said while more people were being caught speeding, they were not speeding by as much. Open-road mean speeds had dropped from 102.3km/h in 1996 to 95.7km/h in 2013. Urban speeds had also dropped, from 56.5km/h in 1996 to 51.7km/h in 2013.

All they have achieved is slowing people down, not actually reducing the road toll, and in the process increased by a substantial amount the time people spend driving because they are now going slower…increasing driver tiredness as a result. A drive from Auckland to Napier now takes at least another 20 minutes, despite road improvements.

On top of that the fuel efficiency of vehicles would be significantly affected as well. Well done to the Police. Not actually saving lives, slowing down traffic, increasing driving times and revenue gathering off of Auckland’s motorways.



– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.