Police to target unsafe driving

Last updated 12:00 16/04/2014

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Central District police will be on the lookout for dangerous driving this Easter weekend as they aim to match last year's zero death toll and cut the number of crashes.

The district's road policing manager Inspector Dave White said yesterday that there would be a reduced speed tolerance of 4kmh from 4pm tomorrow until the morning of April 28. Police would especially be on the lookout for speeding drivers, drink driving, dangerous driving, seatbelt offences, and mobile phone offences.

"I think there's no surprise that over a holiday weekend period we certainly maximise the number of patrols that are working, particularly on the highways," he said.

Police statistics show there were 1882 seatbelt offences recorded in Manawatu in the whole of last year, down from 1955 in 2012.

Alcohol and drugs offences dropped from 1042 to 701, camera-issued speeding offences fell from 8990 to 8117, red light offences fell from 283 to 228, and camera-issued speeding offences were down from 15,440 to 11,917.

However, the number of mobile phone offences rose to 316 from 248.

White said the effects in Central Districts of the police's two-month enforcement of the reduced speed threshold were in line with those seen at a national level. The threshold was enforced from December 1 last year to January 31 this year.

Although there had been a rise in the number of speeding infringements issued in the period, White said the number of those travelling at higher speeds had come down and most offences were in the "lower zone".

The statistics show that there were 1632 officer-issued speeding infringements in Manawatu in that period, compared with 1322 in the same period a year earlier. But speed camera fines rose sharply, from 1639 to 3427.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said the proportion of drivers observed speeding at more than 100kmh in December and January was 36 per cent to 51 per cent lower than during the previous four summers.

"When broken down further, the proportion of drivers exceeding 104kmh also dropped by 47 per cent to 62 per cent compared with the previous four years, while the proportion of those exceeding 110kmh fell by 43 per cent to 60 per cent."

There were no deaths on Manawatu roads over the Easter weekend last year and police would like to keep it that way.

However, White said keeping people safe on the weekend was not only about road deaths. "Sometimes the effects of a serious crash last, and I'm not underplaying the effects of death. . . And of course . . . if you're a four- or five-hour drive from home, any crash is stressful."

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He expected the road to Taupo to be particularly busy tomorrow afternoon and Monday, even though many people would have taken off work to take advantage of the Anzac Day holiday next Friday.

"The advice, as always, is leave early or leave later. Everyone seems to want to leave at 3.30pm and they're surprised when they get to Bulls and there's a lot of traffic."

"Make sure you allow plenty of time to get where you're going, and if possible try avoid that peak Thursday afternoon travel. If you hit a lot of traffic that's going slowly, be patient. If it's really annoying you, stop somewhere for 10 minutes."

- Manawatu Standard

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