Parents plea for speed camera after teens injured in crash

Rebecca and Matt Oskam-Schmidt (centre) and Derek Smith return to the scene of a crash in...
Rebecca and Matt Oskam-Schmidt (centre) and Derek Smith return to the scene of a crash in Ravensbourne Rd in January, where a driver crashed head-on into a car driven by Mr Oskam-Schmidt. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The parents of teens badly injured in a Dunedin crash are pleading for a speed camera along a deadly stretch of road.

Two people have died in Ravensbourne Rd crashes, where speed was a factor, in the past year.

On the night of January 8, Dean Rodgers was driving faster than 60kmh along that same road. The temporary speed limit was 30kmh.

He crossed the centre line, ploughed into an oncoming SUV, and then ran from the scene, leaving his injured passenger in the car.

Inside the SUV, another five people were injured.

They included Matt Oskam-Schmidt, his sons Jakob (15) and Louis (13), Callum Smith (13), and another teen.

Injuries ranged from fractures to aortic dissection.

Rodgers was this week sentenced to nine months’ home detention and 250 hours’ community work and ordered to pay each victim $2000.

He was banned from driving for a year and a day.

Now Mr Oskam-Schmidt, his wife Rebecca Oskam-Schmidt, and Callum’s father Derek Smith are calling for improved safety measures.

They want a speed camera installed along the road, which they say is home to a lot of poor driving behaviour.

‘‘We just see it every day, every single day, just terrible driving on that road, and it’s by all walks of life,’’ Mr Smith said.

‘‘People are in such a rush, and with all the roadworks down there, very few people abide by the rules, and it’s just so dangerous.’’

He had put dash cameras in his car in an attempt to document the behaviour.

He was also concerned about truck drivers on that road, saying many did not stick to the speed limit.

‘‘There needs to be more accountability.’’

Mr Oskam-Schmidt said police had told him that had he been driving faster than the 30kmh speed limit on the night of the crash, they would have been pulling a body out of his car.

‘‘People need to think about cause and effect,’’ he said.

Mrs Oskam-Schmidt said even if someone considered themselves to be a good driver, the person coming the other way might not be.

‘‘You going that 10kmh more could have a big impact on your life, so even if you’re doing it right but you’re going just a wee bit faster because you can, there’s plenty of people on the road that don’t drive safely.

‘‘We all make mistakes.’’

Police are also calling for people to change their driving behaviour.

Senior Sergeant Nik Leigh said there used to be a speed camera in Ravensbourne, and replacing it would act as a deterrent.

‘‘I think there would be grounds to put one there.’’

But regardless, people needed to drive to the conditions, stick to the speed limit, and limit distractions, he said.

He pointed out that Otago had its worst road death toll in more than a decade in 2020, in a year when the borders were essentially closed.

‘‘It’s Kiwis killing Kiwis,’’ he said.

‘‘The complacency they have around driving is killing them.’’

Nearly quarter of a million speeding fines were issued in the South in the past three years, police data shows.

Last year alone there were 79,185 — 35,092 from fixed speed cameras, 22,775 from mobile speed cameras, and 21, 318 issued by police officers.

A camera in Wansbeck St, Oamaru, photographed the most drivers and 20,950 tickets were issued.

The three fixed cameras in Dunedin totals were: Southern Motorway (7641), King Edward St (1660) and Maclaggan St (3795).

Another 1046 motorists were issued tickets from a fixed camera in Otatara Rd, Invercargill.

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