Police get tough on speeders for holiday

By Elizabeth Binning

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Motorists are being warned that if they speed this weekend they have no right to complain about the consequences - which could include being ticketed for going more than 4km/h over the posted limit.

Police have again lowered their tolerance for speeding this long weekend in what is set to become a permanent feature of all public holidays.

National road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose said the lowered tolerance was introduced last Queen's Birthday weekend after a disastrous Easter when 12 people died on the roads.

Since then police had noticed a real difference in the number of road deaths during public holidays.


"We think that it is making a difference and that as most drivers have now become used to the idea, it seems obvious to introduce it permanently."

And Ms Rose makes no apologies to those who complain that it's not fair.

"If it takes that for somebody to think next time about slowing down, then albeit - good. I don't make any apologies because we are in the business of saving lives quite frankly and if across the wayside we have to write a few tickets then so be it."

Ms Rose said it was up to drivers whether they got a ticket or not.

"If you choose to speed then you choose to face the consequences and the best consequence you could face is a police ticket. The worst consequence is a fatal crash.

"We are not just talking about 'let's just slow down because it's a fun thing to do' - we are talking about let's slow down so we can save people's lives and celebrate more people sitting around family tables come Christmas."

Ms Rose said it was important people remembered the speed limit was what was posted on signs - such as 100km/h, not the 10km/h extra that has been tolerated for some time.

"We are actually giving a bit of a free run for those who go a little bit over. We are still going to do that but we are just bringing that little bit over down to a more reasonable level."

AA spokesman Simon Lambourne said most motorists accepted the lowered tolerance. However enforcement should not be used on the country's safest roads, such as four-lane motorways, he said.

The AA also didn't want to see the initiative rolled out permanently as it was more effective when used on special occasions like public holidays.

Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstead said fatalities and serious injuries from road crashes shouldn't be an accepted part of long weekends and he urged motorists to take care.

"We're asking people to drive to the conditions, take regular breaks and share the driving, wherever they are heading this weekend. It's also the start of winter, so it's especially important that we're all aware of the road conditions and adjust our driving accordingly."

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said there was no room for complacency on the roads this Queen's Birthday weekend.

"While this year got off to a positive start in terms of the road toll, the last few days have sadly brought with them a significant number of fatal accidents on the roads as winter sets in.

"All road users need to be mindful of the weather conditions and extra traffic on the roads this holiday weekend and be extra vigilant."

The road toll stands at 120 so far this year - 60 lower than at the same time last year. It is the lowest level in more than 30 years.

PLAYING SAFE

* Police will be out in force over the weekend - if you break the law you can expect to be caught.
* Anyone going more than 4km/h over the speed limit will be ticketed.
* Take regular breaks and share the driving.
* Drive to the conditions.

- NZ Herald

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