Red-light runners face the prospect of being caught on camera if they continue to flout the law on one of Tauranga's busiest roads.

Hewletts Rd's Totara St and Aerodrome Rd intersections have been chosen for fixed red-light cameras, Western Bay's head of road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion says.

The two intersections were chosen from a review of sites involving the police and traffic engineers from the Tauranga City Council and New Zealand Transport Agency. However, no final decision had been made on when the fixed cameras would be installed, he said.

Hewletts Rd and Totara St intersection. Photo/John Borren
Hewletts Rd and Totara St intersection. Photo/John Borren

Mr Campion said the problem with red-light runners was getting worst as the city's main roads got busier, particularly around peak hours. "Drivers are pushing the envelope further and further."

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He said the problem was not just red-light runners but drivers who got caught out entering intersections while the exit was still blocked with traffic. The assessment of which intersections got the cameras had been based on risk. Mr Campion said the running of red lights was high-risk behaviour that was likely to result in serious injury crashes or worse. Informal surveys carried out by the Bay of Plenty Times had shown that red-light running was commonplace in Tauranga. Five cars ran red lights during 15 minutes observing driver behaviour at the Cameron Rd/15th Ave intersection in January this year. A further 28 ran orange lights when they could have stopped safely.

Mr Campion said at the time he was not surprised at the results of the survey and that the region was over represented by intersection crashes. "Intersections require quite complex driving and decision-making skills."

Driving instructor Jeroen van der Beek said an orange light meant drivers must stop in a controlled manner, otherwise keep going.

"The majority of people think an orange light means put your foot down," he said at the time.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported last year that half of serious crashes at inner-city intersections happened at intersections with lights.

Mr Campion said while crashes at 50km/h were usually survivable, there was still a high probability of injury.

He said running amber lights was a bad habit to get into.

"You then push the envelope slightly more and slightly more again, and suddenly it turns red just as you enter the intersection and then that becomes okay. Sooner or later you will find you are involved in a collision."