Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

AA wants 'life-saving' speedcam signs back

Signs ensure drivers slow down more in identified black spots, says the AA. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Signs ensure drivers slow down more in identified black spots, says the AA. Photo / Steven McNicholl

The Automobile Association says signs which alert drivers to speed cameras save lives and must be reintroduced to combat dangerous speeding habits on our roads.

Last week, the police defended the doubling of speed camera tickets in 2010, saying it was a result of improved digital camera technology.

National road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose denied that the huge increase was a form of revenue-gathering, saying police had reallocated cameras to areas of high risk.

In an opinion piece in today's Herald, AA motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon argues that the increase in tickets shows that hidden cameras are not preventing people from driving too fast. He contends that signs will ensure people slow down more in identified black spots.

"If the purpose of the camera is to get drivers to slow down, and you accept that making people more aware of them is likely to help to achieve this, why would you not do it?

"The fact that some of these cameras are still issuing thousands of tickets shows the current approach isn't succeeding and speeds are not being managed."

Mr Noon says the proposal is not to help drivers avoid tickets - it is to get them to slow and check their speed, especially in high-risk areas.

Signs that alert drivers to speed cameras are used in Australia, the United Kingdom and other countries which New Zealand shares road-safety measures with, he says.

Last week, Police Minister Judith Collins said warning signs made motorists slow down only temporarily.

The AA said it supported the use of mobile cameras without signs and that if people chose to speed up again, they could be caught by cameras in police vans or by officers on patrol.

Speed cameras were signposted when they were first introduced in New Zealand in 1993.

But the warnings were removed in 2004 as part of a police road-safety campaign which warned that speeding drivers could be caught "anywhere, anytime".

Last year, police gave out 627,948 tickets for speeding infringements. This compared to 329,838 the previous year.

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

- NZ Herald

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