Speed blitz saw more tickets

A reduced speed tolerance on New Zealand roads in December and January caused a massive increase in numbers of fines but a minor increase in revenue.

The number of deaths also dropped.

An analysis of the police numbers collected during the two-month clampdown is a strong argument against those that say it doubles as a revenue-collecting mechanism.

As part of the multi-agency Safer Summer campaign, police strictly enforced a 4km/h reduced speed threshold between December 1, 2013, and January 31, 2014.

It was the longest period the lower tolerance has been in place since being introduced for all holiday periods in 2010, and was accompanied by a national media and advertising campaign.

The total number of speeding drivers caught by both officers and cameras in the Waikato region surged 63 per cent to 26,294 compared to the corresponding months in 2012/2013. However, the associated revenue increase was subdued, rising 15 per cent to $1,174,520.

There were anomalies within Waikato's three sub areas.

Speed camera notices increased in the west from 2796 to 9900 with a rise in revenue from $156,380 to $477,230.

Yet motorists in the east were caught on camera more often and paid less: in 2012/2013 police issued 5698 fines worth $311,320 but in 2013/2014 the number of tickets rose to 5927 and revenue fell to $200,000.

National manager road policing, Superintendent Carey Griffiths, said while police issued more tickets most were for lower level speeding.

Ticket numbers from 45 mobile speed cameras over December and January shows that per hour of operation, notices issued for speeds of more than 110kmh fell by 48-60 per cent, compared to the same period during the three previous years. The significant majority of notices issued were for those breaking the speed limit by 5-10kmh.

Analysis of vehicle mean speeds at survey sites also fell by a statistically significant 0.5-1.5kmh, compared to the same period in the previous four years.

"This doesn't sound like a lot, but when you multiply it over millions of journeys it makes a big difference.

"This is backed by international evidence, which tells us that for every kilometre per hour that we reduce mean speeds, there is a corresponding four per cent reduction in fatalities, which is huge," Griffiths said.

The reduction in road deaths from 57 to 42 was welcome.

"Although 42 lives lost is nothing to celebrate, it is heartening that this was the lowest number ever recorded for those two months, and 15 less than the same period for the previous year," Griffiths said.

Waikato Times