Thousands of dollars in tickets were handed out to motorists flouting intersection laws yesterday as Taranaki police kicked off a new safety crusade.
The campaign will run until March 3 targeting drivers at intersections controlled by traffic lights and signs.
State Highway 3, between Bell Block and Waitara, has been identified as a high-risk area with 195 crashes, including six deaths, in the past five years at a social cost of $51 million.
It was the first stretch of road targeted yesterday and it didn't take long for the first driver to break the rules, at the highway's intersection with Mangati Rd in Bell Block.
A steady stream of offenders followed with nine $150 tickets dished out between 7.40am and 8.30am.
The explanations were coming just as fast.
One female driver, who failed to stop and also received tickets for not wearing a seatbelt and having no warrant of fitness, told the Taranaki Daily News she was surprised to see police but said not stopping was out of character for her.
"I normally do. I stop and then roll out but oh no, I was too fast this morning."
The ticket and 20 demerit points had the desired effect.
"Every intersection I come up to I'll be checking from now on."
Waitara's Christian Luke said he hadn't noticed the intersection was a compulsory stop but said he would be paying better attention in future.
"You just get complacent because you do it so much."
While the majority of motorists calmly accepted they had broken the rules one man angrily screwed up his ticket and threw it on the floor before driving off.
Senior Constable Mark Brown said motorists were dying needlessly and causing serious injuries because they were not following the rules.
Police made no apologies for their tough stance, he said.
"We want people to stop and take a couple of seconds to check the road before they proceed."
Mr Brown said while some people might accuse police of revenue collecting, a fine was a small price to pay if it resulted in changing a driver's behaviour.
Sixteen drivers had received tickets by 3pm but he was pleased with how the operation had gone.
"I would say overall it's been pretty good behaviour by drivers, which was ruined by those 16 who decided to run the risk."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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