More tickets will sink summer slowdown - AA

COP THAT: Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee (left) and Police Minister Anne Tolley check out one of the 28 new red patrol cars unveiled as part of a plan to make the vehicles more visible on New Zealand highways.
COP THAT: Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee (left) and Police Minister Anne Tolley check out one of the 28 new red patrol cars unveiled as part of a plan to make the vehicles more visible on New Zealand highways.

The summer speed slowdown will be a failure if it leads to a big increase in tickets, the AA says.

Police have announced from December 1 to January 31 they will have a tolerance of 4kmh above the official speed limit.

AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen said an increase in tickets will not make New Zealand roads any safer.

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

Some police tactics, such as targeting passing lanes and motorways where driving on the speed limit is safe, annoy motorists, Thomsen said.

"If people feel they have been ticketed covertly it creates resentment."

Police should target enforcement at high risk areas and speed cameras and officers should be clearly visible, as high police visibility calms traffic and reduces speeding, Thomsen said.

Part of the increased visibility plan involves the trial of 28 red or orange police cars to be rolled out over the next year.

Speeding fines do not go directly to funding road safety, something Thomsen said should change.

"That's one of our biggest responses we have had from our members is that the fines should go towards solving the problem."

All infringement fees go to the government.

Police national manager road policing Superintendent Carey Griffiths said police do not measure success by infringement numbers and hope there is not a hike in speeding tickets.

"Police would be delighted if there was never another speeding infringement issued, as it would show everyone was travelling within the legally posted speed limit, and deaths, injuries and hospitalisations would plummet overnight."

Police would be trying to be as visible as possible, Griffiths said.

"Police will be using a variety of tactics to reduce road trauma this holiday season.

"This will include operations in known holiday hotspots, with a highly visible police presence, along with random and targeted impairment testing and other initiatives.

"Being obvious and highly visible is the whole point of the campaign launched today - and is an important part of the ongoing Police road safety approach."

During the December-January period of 2012-2013 there were 416 serious injuries on New Zealand roads, including 57 deaths.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said 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," she said.

"The evidence is very clear that reducing speed plays a major part in making our road safer."

When the reduction has been in place there had been a 67 per cent reduction in road crashes, and while the road toll had been coming down more still need to be done, Tolley said.

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

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

ACC chief executive Scott Pickering said the cost of injuries and deaths associated with road crashes was $340 million a year.

"This is unacceptable and speed is a big factor," he said.

The cost for lifetime support for someone with a serious injury could be up to $27 million, Pickering said.

Transport minister Gerry Brownlee said all New Zealanders should take notice of the changes as it was traumatic when someone did not come home over summer.

"We have a pretty big commitment to reduce injury and deaths on our roads," he said.

"While some of the requirements to stick to speed limits are tough, I will do my best to stick to them."

Police commissioner Peter Marshall said New Zealand had come a long way with road safety.

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

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

In 2012 the road toll was 288.

"But it's not about numbers and figures, it's about the pain, anguish and suffering which goes on," Marshall said.

"I make no excuse for the threshold, we want people to get back home safely and enjoy summer."

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