We drive too fast in 50km/h zones

By Mike Dinsdale

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Northland motorists are putting too much pedal to the metal on the region's urban roads, travelling 0.5km/h faster than the average national speed of 51.3km/h in the 50km/h zones.

A new survey shows that motorists in Northland travelled at an average of 51.8km/h on the region's urban roads in 2012, up from 51.5km/h the previous year and the seventh highest speed in the country. Meanwhile, the average speed on Northland's open roads is at its slowest for more than seven years. But police say they will not stop targeting speedsters as the latest results showed tactics were working.

Northland road policing acting Senior Sergeant Lance Goulsbro said it was good news that people were travelling slower on the open road, adding he believed publicity and police campaigns were partly responsible for motorists taking their foot off the accelerator. But the increased speed on urban roads showed more work was needed there.

"Speeding is still a major focus for police because it's still a major cause of accidents on our roads, so we won't be slowing down our speeding enforcement," Mr Goulsbro said.

Most of Northland's fatal accidents are on the open road.

The Ministry of Transport's 2012 Speed Survey monitors changes in speeds of vehicles in both 100km/h areas and main urban 50km/h areas across the country.

The survey monitored 856 vehicles on Northland's open roads and 742 on urban roads. It found that the average speed on the open road in the region in 2012 was 93.6km/h, down from 95.5km/h in 2011 and 96km/h in 2010.

It was also below the national average of 95.6km/h for the year and the lowest average since at least 2005.

The survey shows that 15 per cent of the vehicles surveyed exceeded 103km/h on the open road and 56km/h on urban roads.

"People are learning the messages about speed though, with signs warning of the dangers on our roads, publicity campaigns and a high police presence on the roads," Mr Goulsbro said.

"Reducing the speed tolerance on public holidays [to give tickets to anybody found doing more than 4km/h over the posted limit] is also beginning to make a difference," Mr Goulsbro said.

"That sticks in people's minds after the holidays are over and they realise that they don't have to travel at those excessive speeds to get somewhere on time.

"With the average speeds coming down, anybody doing 105km/h to 110km/h really sticks out from the rest of the traffic and becomes far easier to spot."

- Northern Advocate

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