Po­lice warn mo­torists to slow down this sum­mer

Matamata Chronicle - - News/opinion -

Any­one ex­ceed­ing the speed limit this sum­mer can ex­pect to be pulled over, re­gard­less of whether there’s a 4kmh speed tol­er­ance.

The warn­ing comes as po­lice move to­wards zero tol­er­ance of speed­ing, after last sum­mer’s suc­cess­ful cam­paign which saw fa­tal­i­ties drop by 22 per cent.

‘‘Any­thing over the limit is speed­ing and any­one speed­ing can ex­pect to be pulled over,’’ po­lice as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner, road polic­ing, Dave Cliff said.

Po­lice op­er­ated a 4kmh tol­er­ance last sum­mer – from De­cem­ber 1 to Jan­uary 31 – but still is­sued more than 200,000 tick­ets for peo­ple do­ing be­tween 1kmh and 10kmh over the limit.

That was more than five times the amount tick­eted dur­ing the same pe­riod the pre­vi­ous year when there was no re­duced tol­er­ance, a po­lice re­port into the Safer Sum­mer cam­paign showed.

The tick­ets to­talled more than $6 mil­lion in fines, an in­crease of about $5m from the pre­vi­ous years.

But the re­duced tol­er­ance also helped pre­vent crashes, with 201 fewer mi­nor-in­jury crashes, 21 fewer se­ri­ous-in­jury crashes, and 11 fewer fa­tal crashes.

Cliff said it was time the fo­cus shifted away from think­ing about a speed tol­er­ance and to­wards driv­ing to the con­di­tions and the speed limit.

‘‘Peo­ple of­ten set their cruise con­trol to the tol­er­ance when it should be at the speed limit.’’

If an of­fi­cer pulled over a car do­ing a few kilo­me­tres an hour over the limit, they had the dis­cre­tion to ei­ther is­sue a ticket or give the driver a warn­ing, he said.

Sta­tion­ary speed cam­eras would still op­er­ate with a 4kmh tol­er­ance over sum­mer.

Lower drink-drive lim­its for driv­ers 20 years and over also took ef­fect from De­cem­ber 1.

Sec­re­tary for Trans­port Martin Matthews said road fa­tal­i­ties had dropped by hun­dreds a year in the last few decades, as New Zealan­ders be­came less tol­er­ant of drinkdriv­ing.

‘‘ For ev­ery 100 al­co­hol or drug-im­paired driv­ers or rid­ers killed in road crashes, 54 of their pas­sen­gers and 27 sober road users die with them.

‘‘Th­ese are not just statis­tics – th­ese are some­one’s mum, dad, sis­ter or brother. This change will make our roads safer, save lives and pre­vent se­ri­ous in­juries.’’

Last year po­lice spent $350,000 on mar­ket­ing the Safer Sum­mer cam­paign, which would this year be sup­ported by the Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion (ACC).

ACC man­ager of mo­torist in­jury in­surance Paul Gim­blett said the cam­paign­would be a sound in­vest­ment.

‘‘The faster you go, the worse your in­juries will be.

‘‘ In 2012- 13, ACC re­ceived around 85 road in­jury claims a day over sum­mer. That’s 85 fam­i­lies im­pacted, a to­tal of 7500 peo­ple hurt on our roads and a huge cost to New Zealan­ders.

‘‘That’s why we’re urg­ing all Ki­wis to stick to a safe speed and drive to the con­di­tions.’’

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