Close calls with the law and speeding seem to go hand in hand, and I’m sure many of us have had a few speeding tickets in our time. In the end we’re left at the roadside knowing that we were being stupid, and we stop getting so overboard with it. However the recent introduction of what was reported as zero tolerance for speeders over the summer period left many of us worried that we would be caught out due to speedo inaccuracy, or via inadvertent creep when overtaking slower-travelling traffic. But it turns out only a reported 14 tickets were issued nationwide within a zero to 4kph speed tolerance range during the holiday period, bringing into question the effectiveness of a campaign which had motorists up in arms. After much confusion over what the changed tolerance was, it turns out drivers were actually allowed a leeway of 4kph, though police could fine you if you were 1kph over the limit.
The biggest issue with the reduced speed limit was that our holiday-period death toll was the highest it’s been since 2011–’12, and this year we’re up by 10 deaths over the previous Christmas period. I’m all for lowering the road toll and assessing Kiwis as drivers, but you can’t just focus the blame for the road toll on speeding. We need further research, and even a look at interesting case studies from abroad to understand what motivates deaths on the road, and how to effectively reduce that number. Maybe with further investigation to better identify the driving habits of those dying, we could create a system that prevents more deaths. Until then, stick to the law, and hope your speedo’s not too far out.