Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Reduced speed tolerance will apply for December and January

Police have warned summer drivers caught over the reduced speed tolerance of 4km/h in December and January to be prepared for the consequences.

The reduced speed tolerance, which will be enforced over the two summer months, was announced today by the Government, along with several other roading initiatives.

Have you been fined for breaching a reduced speed limit tolerance? What was your experience? Email us here.

Assistant Commissioner road policing Dave Cliff said police would have "no tolerance" for those found flouting the law and travelling over the reduced speed tolerance

Enforcement of the reduced speed tolerance has previously been limited to official holiday periods such as Queen's Birthday.

Keeping it in place from December 1 to the end of next January was a first for New Zealand roads.

"As we have already seen during the two most recent long weekends this year when there was a total of just one death on our roads, stricter enforcement around speed, along with a range of other safety tactics, can make a real difference in saving lives, preventing injuries, and leaving fewer grieving families behind," Mr Cliff said.

"Our research shows that when police combined high visibility tactics with a reduced speed threshold during Queen's Birthday Weekends in 2010 and 2011, the total number of fatality/injury crashes reduced by 25 per cent, compared with the previous two years. That's an average of 30 people whose lives were saved."

"If, as country, we can save that many people over a few days, the question for all of us sharing the roads these holidays is how many could we save over two months?"

The announcement, made by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Police Minister Anne Tolley, also revealed highway patrol cars were set to get a makeover, with a nationwide trial of red and orange cars.

Some 28 coloured cars will be rolled out across the country over the next year, as existing vehicles come up for replacement.

"Their purpose is to provide a strong visual reminder of the Police presence on our roads and to provoke public debate, as agencies work together to improve road safety," Mr Cliff said.

Police would also be stepping up their presence on the roads over the holiday period, he said.

NZ Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner said the holiday safety road campaign would be welcomed by most New Zealanders.

"We know that a clear majority of Kiwis support police enforcement of speed limits to prevent crashes, and reject drink-driving as dangerous and unacceptable."

Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority Chief Executive, Mike Underhill, reminded drivers driving at higher speeds was not only dangerous, but also costly.

"Travelling over the open road speed limit not only puts you at a higher risk of a crash, it also makes you use more fuel. A 10 per cent increase will cost you another 20 cents on every litre of petrol you use."

Ms Tolley said while lower road tolls in recent years were an improvement, one death was still too many.

"The evidence shows that reducing speed can play a major part in making our roads safer, and in ensuring that fewer Kiwi families have to suffer the trauma of losing a loved one or being involved in a serious crash."

- APNZ

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