Slow down in town, speedsters told

19:48, Jul 22 2014
david cunliffe and john key
SPEEDING ANGERS: Van Diemen St resident Karin Jordan is concerned about the speed vehicles travel along the Nelson street.

Karin Jordan has had enough of dangerous driving outside her Nelson home.

The Van Diemen St resident said "kids with really noisy cars" shot past at high speeds most nights and in the early morning. She has lived there for six years.

"I suppose they're not going to kill anyone because they're driving late at night . . . the bottom line is that people speed down that road."

Jordan said her neighbours put up with hearing cars speeding by just as much as she did, but she spent a lot of time at home as a stroke had reduced her mobility.

Van Diemen St is a 50km/h zone, but became one of the council's "school variable speed" zones earlier this year. This means that the speed limit is 40km/h at the beginning and end of the school day, as signalled by a set of electronic signs. The signs do not operate during the school holidays.

New Zealand Transport Authority's database showed there had been six speed-related crashes on Van Diemen St between 2009 and the present, excluding any recent crashes. Five of the six incidents were caused by the driver losing control at the bend where Van Diemen St turns into Trafalgar St, with one resulting in minor injury.


Jordan said she thought a speed camera should be installed at the corner of Van Diemen and Rutherford Sts.

Nelson dentist Andrew Meffan also lives on Van Diemen St. His car was written off in 2012 after a drunk driver's vehicle left the road and crashed into it during the early hours of the morning. He described the street then as "a racetrack", and confirmed that not much had changed since the incident.

"We find that any time of the day or night, someone will use that road as a bit of a drag strip."

Meffan said the road's design "seemed to invite" dangerous driving. He understood that becoming airborne over a hump in the road near the intersection of Van Diemen and Rutherford Sts was a popular target, and believed this had been the aim of the driver who crashed into his car.

Police spokesperson Barbara Dunn said there was already an operation underway which targeted irresponsible drivers. The area around Van Diemen St had been the focus of a number of back-to-school and speed-related police campaigns .

Tasman district road policing manager Inspector Jenni Richardson said: "We strongly encourage residents and road users to report dangerous driving to police immediately. It is important people get the registration details of the vehicle involved to enable police to act."

The Nelson Mail