Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Police reduce speed tolerance to avoid Labour Weekend carnage

Police will be watching motorists closely this Labour Weekend in a move to reduce the worrying road toll, which is eight deaths higher than this time last year.

Police are targeting people who are not following at safe distances and the speed tolerance of 4km/h either side of the speed limit is being enforced again for the long weekend.

National manager of road policing Superintendent Carey Griffiths said lowering the speed tolerance to 4km/h had made a big difference during previous holiday periods, but drivers still needed to take responsibility.

Mr Griffiths wanted no road deaths this long weekend after a fatality-free Easter weekend.

He urged motorists to drive carefully to avoid a repeat of last year's carnage, in which seven people were killed on the roads - one less than the previous year.

This year, 226 people have died on the roads, compared with 218 for the same period last year.

Motorists travelling during the blustery Labour Weekend are being warned to take note of reduced speed limits and prepare for long waits if travelling to Northland and the Coromandel.

The 90km/h speed limit on most of State Highway 2 between the SH1/2 interchange near Pokeno and the SH2/25 intersection near Mangatarata, often referred to as the "highway of death", remains in place in an effort to reduce the number and severity of crashes.

The Transport Agency's Auckland and Northland regional director Stephen Town said travelling during high-pressure holiday periods such as Labour Weekend was riskier because there were more vehicles on the roads and people were driving in unfamiliar environments.

More than 20,000 vehicles are expected to use the Northern Gateway toll road during the weekend and users have been advised to pay the fee in advance to help to avoid delays.

Safe travels
* Make sure your vehicle is safe before leaving
* Plan to avoid worst traffic periods
* Allow plenty of time
* Schedule regular rest stops

- NZ Herald

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