Drivers adapt well to lower speed margin

Southern police consider a two-month national road safety campaign a success, with most drivers sticking to a 4kmh threshold.

The campaign targeting speeding and other risky behaviour started on December 1 with the support of ACC, the Ministry of Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. It introduced an extended 4kmh reduced speed threshold for the first time beyond traditional holiday periods, and was supported by a national advertising and media campaign.

Southland's area manager for prevention, Inspector Olaf Jensen, said he was relatively happy with the behaviour of southern motorists.

Acting Senior Sergeant Wing-wah Ng, of Invercargill, said it had been a success and the majority of southern drivers had been complying with the 4kmh tolerance.

The national manager of road policing, Superintendent Carey Griffiths, said anecdotal feedback from officers indicated the vast majority of motorists stopped for speeding were apologetic, with fewer complaints generally.

Most drivers seemed to be taking the slow-down message on board, Mr Griffiths said.

The end of the campaign follows a national record low road toll for 2013, with 254 fatalities.

There were 23 deaths recorded in December, which was the lowest December road toll since monthly records started in 1965.

Nineteen deaths were recorded in January 2014 - the second lowest number for January since monthly records started.

"Sadly, it's still 42 too many people who have died so far this summer, along with countless others who have been hurt, leaving grieving families and friends behind," Mr Griffiths said.

"That's why police and its road safety partners will be continuing to focus on making our roads safer this coming year and maintaining the downward trend."

There were no plans to introduce the 4kmh speed threshold permanently. However, officers still had the discretion to issue notices for anyone speeding.

The Southland Times