More fines re­duce deaths, in­come

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

A re­duced speed tol­er­ance on New Zealand roads in De­cem­ber and Jan­uary caused a mas­sive in­crease in num­bers of fines, but a mi­nor in­crease in rev­enue.

The num­ber of deaths also dropped.

An anal­y­sis of the po­lice num­bers col­lected dur­ing the two-month clam­p­down is a strong ar­gu­ment against those who say it dou­bles as a rev­enue-col­lect­ing mech­a­nism.

As part of the multi- agency Safer Sum­mer cam­paign, po­lice en­forced a 4kmh re­duced-speed thresh­old be­tween De­cem­ber 1, 2013, and Jan­uary 31, 2014.

It was the long­est pe­riod the lower tol­er­ance had been in place since be­ing in­tro­duced for all hol­i­day pe­ri­ods in 2010, and was ac­com­pa­nied by a na­tional me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign.

The to­tal num­ber of speed­ing driv­ers caught by both of­fi­cers and cam­eras in the Waikato re­gion surged 63 per cent to 26,294 com­pared with the cor­re­spond­ing months in 2012/2013.

How­ever, the as­so­ci­ated rev­enue in­crease was sub­dued, ris­ing 15 per cent to $1,174,520.

There were anom­alies within Waikato’s three sub-ar­eas.

Speed cam­era notices in­creased in the west from 2796 to 9900 with a rise in rev­enue from $156,380 to $477,230.

Yet mo­torists in the east were caught on cam­era more of­ten and paid less: in 2012/ 2013 po­lice is­sued 5698 fines worth $311,320 but in 2013/2014 the num­ber of tick­ets rose to 5927 and rev­enue fell to $200,000.

Na­tional man­ager road polic­ing, Su­per­in­ten­dent Carey Grif­fiths, said while po­lice is­sued more tick­ets most were for low­er­level speed­ing.

Ticket num­bers from 45 mo­bile speed cam­eras over De­cem­ber and Jan­uary show that, per hour of oper­a­tion, notices is­sued for speeds of more than 110kmh fell by 48-60 per cent, com­pared to the same pe­riod dur­ing the three pre­vi­ous years.

The sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity of notices is­sued were for those break­ing the speed limit by 5-10kmh.

Anal­y­sis of ve­hi­cle mean speeds at sur­vey sites also fell by a sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant 0.5- 1.5kmh, com­pared to the same pe­riod in the pre­vi­ous four years.

‘‘This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you mul­ti­ply it over mil­lions of jour­neys it makes a big dif­fer­ence. This is backed by in­ter­na­tional ev­i­dence, which tells us that for ev­ery kilo­me­tre per hour that we re­duce mean speeds, there is a cor­re­spond­ing 4 per cent re­duc­tion in fa­tal­i­ties, which is huge,’’ Grif­fiths said.

The re­duc­tion in road deaths from 57 to 42 was wel­come.

‘‘ Al­though 42 lives lost is noth­ing to cel­e­brate, it is heart­en­ing that this was the low­est num­ber ever recorded for those two months, and 15 less than the same pe­riod for the pre­vi­ous year,’’ Grif­fiths said.

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