Dunedin camera a top site

This Caversham Valley Rd speed camera caught the most speeding motorists in the South Island...
This Caversham Valley Rd speed camera caught the most speeding motorists in the South Island during the 2011-12 fiscal year. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

Dunedin is home to the South Island's most prolific speed-camera site, as New Zealand speed camera infringement notices hit record levels.

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act reveal 652,346 speed-camera notices were issued to motorists in the 2011-12 fiscal year, an increase of 5885 on the previous year.

"Ideally, we want the numbers to be coming down, because we want people complying with the speed rather than us ticketing them," New Zealand Police acting road policing operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said.

The increase was small compared with the 185,932 rise in 2010-11, to 646,461 from 460,529 in 2009-10. This was largely the result of police enforcing a lower speed tolerance during the holiday period.

Despite the record number of notices, police were forecasting the figure would plateau, he said.

"We are not in the business of wanting to issue lots of tickets.

"We are in the business of keeping people safe on the roads."

The majority of speed-camera fines ranged between $30 and $80, with the maximum $630 notices given to the few motorists snapped driving more than 40kmh over the speed limit.

Police did not collate data on those people being ticketed due to the "sheer volume" of notices, but confirmed they did monitor repeat driving offenders from the commercial driving sector.

Nationwide, police operated 12 fixed cameras, which were frequently moved around other fixed sites, and about 45 mobile cameras targeting largely high crash areas, Insp McKennie said.

Police were assessing their static cameras, and "we are looking at new technology to replace them".

"It is quite likely the number of fixed cameras will increase."

The introduction of speed cameras had helped to reduce speeds on the road and the road toll and "that indicates they are effective".

All fines went into the Government's consolidated fund, he said.

"We are not in the business of trying to issue lots of notices and trying to gather revenue. All we want is for people to drive safely within the speed limits, and also to drive to the conditions."

Police did not record the amount of revenue paid for each speed camera, but the country's most prolific site, on State Highway 1 in Sanson, resulted in 12,106 notices during 2011-12.

The most prolific camera in the South Island was in Caversham Valley Rd, near Lookout Point, Dunedin. That camera snapped 3304 motorists over the same period.

Southern District road policing manager Inspector Andrew Burns said the camera was placed there because of the number of crashes at Barnes Dr.

That part of Caversham Valley Rd was to undergo changes as part of the second stage of the New Zealand Transport Agency's planned improvements.

"With the changes to the road layout, it's yet to be determined whether the camera will remain on its current site or be placed elsewhere," Insp Burns said.

Waitemata recorded the highest number of notices issued in 2011-12 with 134,776, but this was down on the 154,354 in the previous 12 months.

The three Auckland police districts of Waitemata, Auckland City and Counties-Manukau accounted for just under half of all speed notices issued in the country during 2011-12.

Southern was eighth out of the 12 police districts, with 37,071 speed notices issued.


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