Speed signs urged, not tickets

By Mike Dinsdale

7 comments
Bill Rossiter, long-time Whangarei road-safety campaigner, wants more of the speed warning signs that he's pictured with to be used on the district's roads to reduce speed.Photo/John Stone
Bill Rossiter, long-time Whangarei road-safety campaigner, wants more of the speed warning signs that he's pictured with to be used on the district's roads to reduce speed.Photo/John Stone

A long-time road safety campaigner is calling for speed warning signs, rather than speeding tickets, as a way to slow down motorists.

Bill Rossiter said NZ Transport Agency research had found that the speed warning signs beside roads, indicating how fast a vehicle was travelling and warning them to "SLOW DOWN" if over the speed limit, were effective at slowing traffic.

Mr Rossiter was awarded a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the community.

He said earlier research he had done with the speed warning signs showed that once they were operating at a site they slowed the average speeds of traffic within a few hours and the reduced speed stayed for some time.

"The research tells us they are effective and people can see what their speed is, whether they are over the limit and to slow down if needed," Mr Rossiter said.

"It's been proved that they slow traffic down at the sites where they are used and we need to be a bit creative in how we get traffic slower and using these more could certainly help."

Police are consulting Northland residents over the location of proposed fixed speed cameras at sites where serious or fatal crashes have occurred. It is believed Western Hills Drive is being considered as one location.

Mr Rossiter said one of the common complaints directed at speed cameras was that they were all about revenue-gathering rather than safety.

He said while that was not the case, having more of the speed warning signs rather than just issuing tickets would also alleviate some of those concerns.

"We did the research on these in Northland, too, and found that within four hours of putting them at the side of the road traffic slowed down on that site and others on the particular stretch of road," Mr Rossiter said.

"We were pleased with that result. It slowed traffic and didn't lead to people getting tickets so it had the desired effect. It's better to prevent people from speeding through signs like this than just ticket them when we catch them speeding.

"This would also overcome some of those revenue-gathering claims. When I was a traffic cop, people always remembered the warnings I gave them more than the tickets."

Mr Rossiter has been a member of the Northland Chamber of Commerce, the Northland Road Safety Association, ran a driver-signalling campaign for motorists to use their indicators and was founder of a four-year cycle helmet-wearing campaign.

He was appointed Northland road safety co-ordinator in 1995 until 2002, and campaigned successfully for several road improvements in the region, which reduced fatalities.

- Northern Advocate

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