Doubling of speed tickets defended

By Hayden Donnell

The number of speeding tickets which have been issued in the past year has almost doubled. Photo / Sam Ackland.
The number of speeding tickets which have been issued in the past year has almost doubled. Photo / Sam Ackland.

The number of speeding tickets handed out last year was nearly double the amount issued the previous year, police figures reveal.

Police gave out 627,948 tickets for speeding infringements in 2010, compared to 329,838 in 2009.

The 2010 figure was more than 200,000 above the four year average for tickets issued.

In the first four months of this year, the country's 55 cameras had captured 200,671 incidents of speeding.

National road policing manger Superintendent Paula Rose defended the rise in tickets issued and dismissed claims tickets are a form of revenue gathering.

She told Radio New Zealand changes including the reduction in police tolerance for speeding during holiday periods had made an impact.

"The previous year we'd introduced digital speed cameras so last year was the first full year of the new cameras in operation. We've also introduced better targeting to make sure where we are allocating our resources are really our areas of risk and where we have people speeding."

She said many tickets do not even cover the administrative costs of issuing the fines.

"We're not interested in revenue, we're interested in safety."

AA road safety spokesman Mike Noon said the figures showed the need to paint fixed speed cameras brightly and signpost the areas where they were operating.

He said making sure drivers knew about speed cameras would ensure they reduced their speed in high risk areas and reduce public perception fines were simply "revenue gathering".

"Issuing a ticket doesn't alter the fact that someone was speeding and therefore it was unsafe.

"The more tickets issued the more the system is failing. The best speed camera is one that doesn't issue any tickets."

Many of those being caught speeding in areas where high numbers of tickets were issued were average drivers, Mr Noon said.

"Where you've got a high number of tickets being issued I don't believe every driver is willfully speeding.

"You can give drivers a warning."

A recently released survey by Britain's Department for Transport showed speed cameras did not always reduce accident rates.

Data showed collisions actually increased at a number of locations after the introduction of cameras.

In one area, the number of accidents went up at 17 of its 89 speed camera sites.

- Herald Online staff

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