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Police to add orange cars

Last updated 05:00 28/11/2013
Anne tolley
COP THAT: Police Minister Anne Tolley checks out one of the 28 new red and orange patrol cars unveiled as part of a plan to make the vehicles more visible on New Zealand highways.

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Police are reducing the speed limit tolerance for two months and introducing red and orange police cars in a bid to reduce the summer road toll.

From Sunday to January 31 police will have a tolerance of 4kmh above the official speed limit.

Police will also be more visible on the roads, with a trial of 28 red and orange police cars to be rolled out over the next year.

It is part of a nationwide publicity campaign promoting safer journeys this summer.

During the two-month period last year there were 416 serious injuries on New Zealand roads, including 57 deaths.

Police Minister Anne Tolley says too many New Zealanders are dying on our roads and too many lives are ruined by crashes.

"For the first time the reduced speed tolerance is being moved across a longer period. The evidence is very clear that reducing speed plays a major part in making our roads safer."

When the reduction has been in place there have been 67 per cent fewer road crashes, and while the road toll has been coming down more still needs to be done, Mrs Tolley says.

"Fewer families are having to experience that trauma of losing a loved one in a road crash," she says.

"However, one death is too many and we do need to keep coming up with new strategies to reduce deaths and crashes even further."

New Zealand had come a long way with road safety, Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says.

"In 1972, 713 people were killed on New Zealand roads and in those days police did not have any input in to road policing," he says.

"There wasn't a cohesive approach to road safety enforcement, but things have certainly changed."

In 2012 the road toll was 288.

Following the announcement the Automobile Association is calling on police to focus on the areas of highest risk and not just sit in their bright coloured police cars being noticed on the side of the motorway.

"If the lower speed tolerance results in a big increase in speeding tickets then that will actually be a failure," AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen says.

"The measure of success has to be to stop drivers speeding and not how many tickets get issued," he says.

For the extended lower tolerance to get the best results the AA believes that enforcement should be as obvious as possible with speed cameras and officers clearly visible in high risk areas.

The AA is calling for the fines from speeding to be used to fund road safety improvements.

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