Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

Top speed traps net $25 million in fines

Auckland has 12 of the top 20 speed cameras.
Auckland's $900,000 revenue earner on Great South Road. Photo / Doug Sherring
Auckland's $900,000 revenue earner on Great South Road. Photo / Doug Sherring

New Zealand's top 20 speed traps have been revealed.

Two fixed speed cameras on the Wellington roading network - one in Porirua and the other on Ngauranga Gorge - both generated fines in excess of $1 million in the first nine months of last year.

More than 15,000 tickets were generated from the Porirua camera, totalling $1.13m in fines. The Ngauranga Gorge camera nabbed 14,200 speedsters, with total fines of $1.07m.

Twelve of the top 20 speed cameras are in the Auckland region. A camera on Great South Rd doled out more than 10,000 tickets and another on the Northwestern Motorway, between the Patiki footbridge and the Waterview Interchange, snapped 8450 motorists.

Police issued more than 390,000 speed camera tickets, totalling $25 million in fines, until September 13 - a drop of 98,760 tickets from the same period last year.

National road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said the drop in speed camera tickets was "very encouraging", as it showed road safety was improving.

But speed was just one of the potential killers on the nation's roads, he said.

"It's not only speed that contributes to the road toll, it's a variety of things like drugs, alcohol and cellphones," he said.

The drop in issued tickets also led to a $5.9m drop in revenue.

The figures - released to the Herald on Sunday under the Official Information Act - do not include motorists who were caught driving in excess of 50km/h over the speed limit. Those offences are dealt with via the court system.

All fixed speed camera sites have been assessed as being at high risk of speed-related crashes.

Greally said the success of the cameras wasn't judged on fines generated, but on making the roads safer.

"A reduction in infringements is a great thing. It's never, ever, about the money," he said.

"We're the ones who have to inform families that loved ones are dead. I've never met a cop who enjoys that."

Despite the drop in speed camera tickets, more people are dying on the roads.

The provisional road toll for 2015 is 321, the highest since 2010.

The holiday road toll stands at eight. Eleven people died during last year's Christmas-New Year break.

Traffic safety campaigner and editor of car review website dogandlemon.com Clive Matthew-Wilson said the speed camera figures showed the risk of a fine wasn't deterring dangerous driving.

He wanted police to rethink road safety measures.

"This huge number of tickets suggest the cameras are a failure," he said.

"The police have a deliberate policy of positioning cameras without warning.

"These cameras tend to catch motorists who are often simply travelling at the same speed as the motorists around them, without intentionally breaking the law," he said.

"These same motorists would have probably slowed down anyway if they had been warned first, so nothing has been gained."

- Herald on Sunday

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