Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Red light jumpers put on notice

File photo / Ron Burgin
File photo / Ron Burgin

Red light-jumpers have been put on notice that cameras will installed at the country's most dangerous intersections.

The Government today announced the release of a paper that paves the way for a national rollout of the red light cameras following a two-year trial.

The trial in Auckland between 2008 and 2010 showed an average 43 per cent reduction in red light-running, and an average 69 per cent decrease in crashes from red light-running.

The Ministry of Transport has estimated the annual social cost at $43 million.

AA motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said the organisation had been calling for the cameras to be introduced around the country for the last decade.

"In a lot of our cities, it's an epidemic,'' he said.

"There's some really bad behaviour happening out there on the roads and the public is quite upset about it,'' he said.

The AA was concerned how long it would take to install the cameras.

The Ministry of Transport has missed two deadlines for producing a national policy for cameras to be introduced to other potentially lethal sites like Manukau and elsewhere around the country.

In March, it said it was working hard to complete the task.

"We've missed a couple of deadlines but we're still working to put out the best policy we can,'' a spokesman said.

Auckland Transport's Road Safety manager Karen Hay said the trial of red light cameras in Auckland had been successful and they welcomed the decision to extend their use.

Wellington City Councillor transport portfolio spokesman Andy Foster, also the president of the Traffic Institute of New Zealand, said red light-jumping was "endemic'' in the capital.

Traffic signal engineers have had to factor in extra delays at the lights because of the problem, he said.

"Because if people are going to run red lights, they can't let the green light traffic go traffic go too early, because the consequences can be catastrophic.''

A Road Transport Forum of New Zealand spokesman said it welcomed the cameras "in principle'', but wanted more information on how intersections would be identified as "high risk''.

The Government was expecting to see the new generation red light cameras appearing at intersections from the end of next year.

Intersection victim was on way to see wife

Making drivers think twice may be all it takes to save lives, says a man whose employee was killed by a motorist running a red light.

Mark Tan-Wanklyn was killed at the intersection of Karangahape Rd, Symonds St and Grafton Bridge when a motorist ran a red light, knocking him off his motorcycle in 2005.

The 41-year-old was on his was to visit his wife at Auckland City Hospital at the time, his former employer, Stephen Leys, told the Herald.

Instead, Mr Tan-Wanklyn was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries. His life support was turned off two days later.

"It was awful, he was going to see his wife who had just had an operation," said Mr Leys.

His grieving widow, deeply affected by the loss, moved back to her native Singapore soon after the accident.

Mr Leys' son, Tom, was also a close friend of Mr Tan-Wanklyn.

Installing cameras will send a strong message to motorists, he said.

"I think it is a very positive move because the law is there and if you run a red light people can, and do, get killed."

The driver of the car that hit Mr Tan-Wanklyn pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing death. She was more than 100m from the intersection when the lights turned orange.

- Morgan Tait

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By the numbers

Between 2008 and 2012 running red lights contributed to:

* 11 deaths

* 169 serious injuries

* 1466 minor injuries

- APNZ

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