Black spot intersections cost $20m

Constable Dave Bullot (left) and Senior Constable Brad Taylor keep an eye on the intersection of...
Constable Dave Bullot (left) and Senior Constable Brad Taylor keep an eye on the intersection of Princes and Rattray Sts, which has been named as the worst intersection in Dunedin in terms of social cost. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Poor driving at 23 intersections across Dunedin, Oamaru and Balclutha has caused injuries, death and a social cost of $20 million over a five-year period.

Yesterday police launched a two-month campaign targeting driver behaviour at intersections across Dunedin, Waitaki and Clutha.

As part of the campaign police will observe motorists at 23 intersections with the highest social cost and worst crash rates.

The intersections are in Dunedin (12), Oamaru (5), Balclutha (3) and Mosgiel (3).

Dunedin Clutha Waitaki road policing manager Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall said poor driving at these intersections cost lives, caused injuries and an estimated $20 million in social costs.

The worst intersection in terms of social cost was at Orwell St and SH1, in Oamaru, costing $4 million over five years, he said.

Crashes at that intersection were largely caused by drivers failing to give way, entering the corner too fast, and merging incorrectly.

In Dunedin the worst intersection in terms of social costs was at Princes and Rattray Sts, which cost an estimated $3,757,240.

Over five years there were 14 injury crashes - including four people suffering serious injuries - at the intersection and 15 non-injury crashes.

In five minutes at the intersection yesterday, the Otago Daily Times witnessed two cars turn on red lights, while another ignored a green pedestrian signal.

The Duke and George Sts intersection, also in Dunedin, had a social cost of $3,276,298, with eight injury crashes, including four serious injuries and seven minor injuries.

In Balclutha, the worst intersection was that of Hasborough Pl and SH1 with an estimated social cost of $881,896. Police will watch for poor driving, such as motorists running traffic lights, using cellphones while driving and not wearing seat belts.

''We are also asking our police staff on the ground, who are carrying out enforcement at intersections, to make recommendations on how a particular intersection could be made safer,'' Snr Sgt McDouall said.

Earlier this year, the ODT reported Dunedin was the worst city in New Zealand for crashes and crash casualties in 2012.

Snr Sgt McDouall said police were committed to making the roads as safe as possible.

''We're aware that by their very nature intersections are places that can be dangerous for road users. Our main message to people is be aware of other road users at intersections and take extra care, a lot can be happening.''

The campaign was also supported by NZTA and the Dunedin City Council, he said.


Police tips for drivers

• Obey the road rules

• Don't run red or orange lights

• Be aware of who is around you - whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist or driving a motor vehicle

• Don't text or talk on your cellphone - it puts other drivers as well as yourself and your passengers at risk

• Be patient


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