Police plan campaign to prevent intersection crashes after tragedy

"We will target minor breaches."

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2013
tdn int stand
ANDY JACKSON
Emergency services work at the scene of a serious crash on July 31 2012 where drivers had broken rules at intersections.

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Motorists on Taranaki roads are being warned to follow the rules at intersections or face the consequences.

Police will be running a campaign from February 11 to March 3 targeting drivers who flout the law at intersections.

Sergeant Stephen Richardson, of the highway patrol, said there were needless deaths and injuries being caused and police would be pulling no punches during the campaign.

"We will target minor breaches because of the intersection crashes that we've had, they all have been caused by minor breaches and simple mistakes," Mr Richardson said.

"The driving public have to learn and not die from simple mistakes."

Intersections controlled by traffic lights and signs will be targeted.

"Stop means stop and an orange light means slow down and stop, not speed up and try and beat it, despite beliefs to the contrary," he said.

Offenders will receive a $150 fine or, if the offence was serious enough, they would be taken to court and police would look to have them disqualified from driving.

"People accuse us of revenue collecting but if we don't target the minor breaches, the cost is far greater with serious injury, dismemberment of limbs and death," he said.

State Highway 3, between Bell Block and Waitara, has been identified as a high risk area with 195 crashes, including six fatal, in the past five years with a social cost of $51 million.

Mr Richardson believed the situation was getting worse.

"These deaths are through simple mistakes.

"I don't believe people are getting more careless, but they are getting more complacent as they are driving the same route every day and perhaps dropping their guard," he said.

Within an hour on July 31, an 80-year-old man died after his car collided with a tanker truck at the intersection of SH3A and Te Arei Rd West, and a stock truck rolled on SH3 after a car pulled out in front of it from Big Jim's Nursery.

While police will pay particular attention to the stretch of highway it would not be their only focus.

"There is still lots of other intersections on the highway network and secondary roads in Taranaki that will be targeted."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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