Speed limits cut for the summer

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 09:46 26/11/2013
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

Police Minister Anne Tolley checks out one of the 28 new orange patrol cars unveiled as part of a plan to make the vehicles more visible on NZ highways.

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Speeding motorists will be under tighter controls this summer with the police threshold for speeding reduced for two months.

From December 1 to January 31 police will have a tolerance of 4kmh above the official speed limit.

During that period last year there were 416 serious injuries on New Zealand roads, including 57 deaths.

Police will also be more visible on the roads, with a trial of 28 red police cars to be rolled out over the next year.

It is part of a nationwide publicity campaign promoting safer journeys this summer.

Too many New Zealander's are dying on our roads and too many lives are ruined by that, Police Minister Anne Tolley said.

"For the first time the reduced speed tolerance is being moved across a longer period.

"The evidence is very clear that reducing speed plays a major part in making our road safer. When the reduction has been introduced there is a 67 per cent reduction in road crashes."

While the road toll has been coming down over the years more still need to be done, Tolley said.

"Fewer families are having to experience that trauma of losing a loved one in a road crash.

"However, one death is too many and we do need to keep coming up with new strategies to reduces deaths and crashes even further.

The cost of injuries and deaths associated with road crashes is $340 million per annum, ACC chief executive Scott Pickering said.

"This is unacceptable and speed is a big factor.

The cost for lifetime support for someone with a serious injury can be up to $27 million, Pickering said.

All New Zealander;s should take notice of the changes as it is very traumatic when someone does not come home over summer, Transport minister Gerry Brownlee said.

"We have a pretty big commitment to reduce injury and deaths on our roads.

"While some of the requirements to stick to speed limits are tough, I will do my best to stick to them."

New Zealand has come a long way with road safety, Police commissioner.Peter Marshall said.

"In 1972 713 people were killed on NZ roads and in those days NZ police did not have any input in road policing.

"There wasn't a cohesive approach to road safety enforcement but things have certainly changed.

In 2012 the road toll was 288.

"But it's not about numbers and figures, it's about the pain, anguish and suffering which goes on," Marshall said.

"I make no excuse for the threshold, we want people to get back home safely and enjoy summer."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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