Speed cam­era runs hot Driv­ers ham­mered for slight in­fringe­ments

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

Don’t men­tion the words ‘‘ speed cam­era’’ and ‘‘Whit­ford Brown’’ to Josie Camp­bell.

The Ti­tahi Bay res­i­dent has given up tak­ing ex­er­cise classes at Horouta Marae af­ter get­ting two fines to­talling $200 in two weeks from the speed cam­era in Whit­ford Brown Ave.

The cam­era be­gan op­er­at­ing in Septem­ber. The speed limit has been 50kmh since 2008.

‘‘One was for [trav­el­ling] 64kmh and the other 67kmh,’’ she said. ‘‘I thought it was a 70kmh zone. It goes to show you should never as­sume.’’

In 2008, air ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor Ron Chippindale died af­ter be­ing hit by a car in Whit­ford Brown Ave. Af­ter his death, the speed limit was low­ered, the road was made into a sin­gle lane in each di­rec­tion and a wire me­dian bar­rier was in­stalled.

Camp­bell took is­sue with the lack of sig­nage in­di­cat­ing it was a 50kmh zone and won­dered how many other peo­ple had been caught as they trav­elled down­hill past the cam­era.

Be­cause tick­ets were not is­sued im­me­di­ately, many driv­ers may have been caught sev­eral times be­fore the first fine ar­rived in the mail, she said.

She had anec­do­tal ev­i­dence of peo­ple who had been caught driv­ing at be­tween 51kmh and 54kmh past the cam­era.

‘‘A guy in his 80s got a fine and he’s never had one in his life,’’ she said. ‘‘Peo­ple are go­ing to say, ‘Don’t speed, then, it’s your own fault’. I hold my hand up that I was go­ing too fast.But some of the speeds [that led to fines] seem low.

‘‘ It’s not like you’re driv­ing through a res­i­den­tial area. I won’t drive up there any more.’’

Af­ter post­ing ques­tions on Face­book about the Whit­ford Brown speed cam­era last Wed­nes­day, Kapi-Mana News re­ceived more than 60 replies within hours.

Many were from peo­ple grum­bling about be­ing fined for go­ing un­der 8kmh over the speed limit.

In­der­jeet Singh Dhillon said he had re­ceived four fines to­talling $120 be­tween De­cem­ber 20 and Jan­uary 28, for speeds from 54kmh to 58kmh. ‘‘I’m not go­ing that way any more,’’ he said.

Rachel O’Neill said her mother, who is in her 80s, was fined five times in a month.

Paul Zim­mer­man said he was fined $80 go­ing up the road and then $30 go­ing down five min­utes later.

Adri­enne Nor­ris said she got three fines in five days and Leanne Denz said she re­ceived two fines in one day and her hus­band got one for go­ing 52kmh.

The po­lice main­tain no fines have been is­sued for speeds un­der 55kmh past a speed cam­era. Se­nior sergeant Ian Martin, the act­ing Welling­ton dis­trict road polic­ing manager, said the in­fringe­ments have been dou­ble checked af­ter Kapi-Mana News in­quiries.

‘‘This [check] con­firms all the in­fringe­ments have been is­sued le­git­i­mately,’’ he said. ‘‘ The vast ma­jor­ity has been in re­sponse to mo­torists ex­ceed­ing the speed limit dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod, where there was a re­duced thresh­old of 4kmh.

‘‘None of the tick­ets have been for speeds of less than 55 kmh, so it would ap­pear those who say they are driv­ing one or two kilo­me­tres over the limit are in fact not re­al­is­ing they are over the re­duced thresh­old.’’

Martin said the Whit­ford Brown Ave site was cho­sen af­ter ex­pert anal­y­sis of the road, which Po­lice have con­firmed that when a ve­hi­cle is tick­eted by a speed cam­era, its war­rant of fit­ness and reg­is­tra­tion are checked, too. A po­lice spokesman said there was a grace pe­riod of a month when the warn­ing was is­sued. The is­sue was raised on the

Face­book page, with some read­ers not­ing the prac­tice was com­mon over­seas. showed 28 crashes in the past decade, in­clud­ing two fa­tal and six se­ri­ous.

‘‘There is a built-up res­i­den­tial area and a school nearby, re­in­forc­ing the need to mod­er­ate traf­fic speeds. The sim­plest way to avoid a fine is to drive to the posted limit.’’

Martin noted that road speeds in Porirua were set by the city coun­cil and rev­enue gath­ered from in­fringe­ments went to the Gov­ern­ment, not po­lice.

Fined: Josie Camp­bell and the Whit­ford Brown Ave speed cam­era.

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