Speeding ticket numbers down

DRIVER BEWARE: The Ngauranga Gorge speed camera snapped 8000 speeding motorists in 2009   the highest in the country.
DRIVER BEWARE: The Ngauranga Gorge speed camera snapped 8000 speeding motorists in 2009 the highest in the country.

The number of speed camera tickets handed out to motorists fell by almost a quarter last year, with camera ticket revenue down more than $5 million.

Police say the statistics, coupled with figures that reveal drivers have slowed down, show the message about speed is sinking in.

However, Wellington's Ngauranga Gorge was the highest ticketed site in the country for the third straight year.

Documents obtained by The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show that 340,368 tickets were handed out nationwide between November 1, 2008 and October 31, 2009 – almost 100,000 fewer than the same period the year before.

Revenue was down about $5m to $30,402,850 – thought to be the lowest on record.

Superintendent Paula Rose, the police national road policing manager, said the drop in tickets was one of several indicators that suggested motorists were getting the message about speeding.

"To be frank, we'd rather not issue any notices. The only people who receive speed infringements are those who choose to break the law and put others at risk," she said.

"In some respects, drivers are getting the message – and we've been pushing the message around speed and the very significant effect it has on injuries and deaths. So I'm really pleased."

The 2009 road toll stood at 381 last night, up 16 on the year before. The holiday road toll stands at three.

The drop in speeding tickets comes after the introduction of 43 digital speed cameras last January, at a cost of $4m.

Police admitted in May that they had waived more than 100 tickets because the new cameras were not calibrated correctly and were clocking some motorists at twice their actual speeds.

But Ms Rose said the new cameras were not to blame for fewer speed tickets being issued.

The statistics come as research also shows motorists slowed down last year.

The Transport Ministry's annual speed survey showed the average speed on the open road fell to 96.3kmh in 2009, the lowest since the survey began in 1995.

The survey is conducted each year at randomly selected sites, tracking changes in average speeds over time.

However, last year's survey found that nearly a third of drivers continued to travel above the speed limit. The average speed on urban roads also fell to a record low – 52.3kmh.

"We've got fewer people travelling over the speed limit and that's pretty damn good," Ms Rose said.

"Last year was the lowest we've ever seen, and obviously that's a very good result."

Speed remains a factor in about one in six injury crashes.

More than 8000 tickets were issued last year to motorists snapped speeding by the stationary camera on the downhill lanes of Ngauranga Gorge.

Ms Rose challenged Wellington drivers to slow down and knock the gorge site off the list of the country's most ticketed.

"It's a very high-volume [traffic] road," she said.

"But it is a site that is highly publicised, and it's an area where we see a large number of crashes, and that's the reason why the speed camera is there."

Four of the top 10 ticketed sites in Wellington were either outside or near schools.

Police refused to disclose what the fastest speeds captured on camera were, fearing that would encourage "misguided" motorists to try to break the record.


Ten most ticketed sites nationwide:

SH1, Ngauranga Gorge between Newlands Rd and Glover St, 8179 tickets issued

Mahia Rd, Manurewa, 8147 tickets issued

Great North Rd, Waitemata, 7461 tickets issued

Onewa Rd, North Shore, 6348 tickets issued

Maunganui Rd, Mt Maunganui, 4599 tickets issued

SH1, Sanson, 4033 tickets issued

East Coast Rd, North Shore, 3963 tickets issued

Main South Rd, Christchurch, 3937 tickets issued

Fitzgerald Ave, Christchurch, 2946 tickets issued

Great North Rd, Avondale, 835 tickets issued

Ten most ticketed sites, Wellington:

SH1, Ngauranga Gorge, 8179 tickets issued

Eastern Hutt Rd, near Taita College, 2101 tickets issued

Ohiro Rd, Brooklyn, between Borlase St and 461 Ohiro Rd, 1920 tickets issued

Wainuiomata Rd, between Parkway and Davis Gr, 1644 tickets issued

Warspite Ave, near Corinna Primary School, 1344 tickets issued

Mazengarb Rd, near Paraparaumu

College, 1054 tickets issued

Burma Rd, near Raroa Intermediate School, 1046 tickets issued

Main Rd, near St Francis Xavier Primary School, 862 tickets issued

SH1, Pukerua Bay, between Gray St and Pa Rd, 829 tickets issued

SH1, Mana Esplanade between Mana View Rd and Steyne Ave, 730 tickets issued

Five most ticketed sites, Eastern Police District:

Meeanee Quay, Westshore, Napier, 3823 tickets issued

Taradale Rd, near Tamatea High School, 1502 tickets issued

Gladstone Rd, Gisborne, near Campion College, 1213 tickets issued

Kennedy Rd, near Onekawa Primary School, 1199 tickets issued

Kennedy Rd, Onekawa, between Riverbend Rd and Konini St, 595 tickets issued

Five most ticketed sites, Central Police District:

SH1, Sanson, 4033 tickets issued

SH1, Foxton, 3515 tickets issued

Fitzherbert Ave, Palmerston North, 3488 tickets issued

SH3, Mokau, 571 tickets issued

SH1, Taihape, 442 tickets issued

The Dominion Post