Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Higher penalties needed for errant drivers: witness

Witness calls for red light cameras to nab dangerous drivers at crossroads.

Greg Reynolds has seen too many crashes. Photo / Getty Images
Greg Reynolds has seen too many crashes. Photo / Getty Images

Greg Reynolds has seen too many young, inexperienced drivers crash outside his business. He's also seen older drivers, those who should know better, come to grief at the intersection of Great South and Penrose Rds.

They all have one thing in common as far as he's concerned - the drivers are at fault.

New Zealand Transport Agency figures released to the Herald on Sunday show the intersection is the worst in Auckland for serious injury crashes in the three years between 2009 and 2011. Six people have been seriously hurt in three crashes.

Reynolds has witnessed more than a dozen crashes since he opened his furniture-making business at the intersection 17 years ago.

He said that although the intersection had its challenges, the problem was people running red lights, especially those turning right into Penrose Rd, and speeding.

"It's unbelievable what people do, it's scary. The police are picking up tickets all the time."

He wanted higher penalties and red light cameras at the intersection.

"People are not afraid to go through a red light. But going through a red light causes deaths."

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said road markings had been changed and new signs and traffic islands installed but there were no plans for a red light camera.

Acting Auckland road policing manager, Sergeant Matt Rogers, said the intersection was not among the 10 in Auckland included in a two-week campaign on intersection safety last month.

Those 10 had the highest number of crashes in the past five years. But the message to drivers remained the same - take care at intersections.

"Every motorist has to be responsible for not running through red lights. You're just taking a risk that doesn't need to be taken."

The figures showed the worst intersection in the country for serious injury crashes was Stuart St and York Pl in Dunedin, where seven people were badly hurt in two crashes, and Christchurch intersections proved the most deadly.

Six people died in two crashes at garden city intersections - Estuary Rd and Cradock St, and Slip Rd and Moorhouse Ave - between 2009 and 2011. The worst Auckland intersection was Church St and Onehunga Mall, where two people were killed in a crash in 2010.

Inspector Doug Parker, acting road policing manager for Canterbury, said police were targeting high risk areas and crash rates had dropped in the last year.

- Herald on Sunday

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