‘The complacency is quite scary’

Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, observes vehicles at the intersection of George and...
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, observes vehicles at the intersection of George and Pitt Sts. Photo: Simon Henderson
Drivers of all ages and types are risking their own safety and that of others by running red lights across the city, Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, says.

"The complacency is quite scary really."

Stop signals were being ignored at all times of the day and night.

"It is all around town, pretty much."

Police had been informed of instances in Andersons Bay, on the one-way system through north Dunedin and in the city.

"People seem to be pushing it all across the city."

Two hot spots were Cargill’s Corner, in South Dunedin, and the intersection at the bottom of Pitt St, where five roads converged.

"They are the most evident ones — Cargill’s and Pitt St — because of the high volume there."

Police had patrolled those intersections and issued notices for people running red lights, Snr Sgt Dinnissen said.

But reports were coming in to police all around town of people ignoring stop signals.

"Hence some of the crashes we are attending."

Drivers of all ages were involved.

"It is not just young or middle-aged — we are picking up all ages, unfortunately, so there is no real rhyme or reason."

Excuses included "it was orange when I went in" or "I thought I could get through".

The standard excuse was "oh it was green", but police could clearly identify traffic lights were not green but red, he said.

Another excuse was "I thought I had enough time to get through before it turned red".

"Well you are not supposed to drive through an orange [light] just to try to beat the red."

There were instances of commercial vehicles also running red lights.

"Some will zip through it."

Professional drivers of large trucks such as logging trucks were "normally pretty good".

Traffic control signs were there for a purpose.

"They are there to keep all road users safe. A stop sign is there to ensure that the motorist can have clear visibility in high-risk locations."

Stop signals were put in place because of the risk those intersections posed.

There had been crashes as a result of people running through orange or red traffic lights as well as failing to give way or stop at other intersections.

Cars travelling 40kmh-50kmh presented a significant danger to pedestrians if the rules were not observed.

"That is ... one tonne of metal that is going to hit a pedestrian."

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter