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Ask Phoebe: Tolerance on motorway speed limit causes confusion

By Phoebe Falconer

In general, the speed limit for cars on main rural roads and motorways is 100km/h, and 50km/h on urban roads, unless signs say otherwise. Photo / Jason Oxenham
In general, the speed limit for cars on main rural roads and motorways is 100km/h, and 50km/h on urban roads, unless signs say otherwise. Photo / Jason Oxenham

I understood the speed limit on designated motorways - Southern, Northern and so on - is 100km/h with a 10km/h tolerance = 110km/h, reducing to 104km/h over designated holidays such as Christmas/Easter, and that the open road limit was 100km/h with no or virtually no tolerance.

This used to be advertised over the holiday periods but lately I have heard and seen nothing. I have asked a couple of traffic officers who frankly didn't seem to know what currently applied (one said it was up to the individual officer). I have travelled the Northern Motorway frequently from Warkworth to Auckland outside peak hours and generally set my cruise control at 108km/h. Am I safe?

- Brett McDowall, Auckland.

I sent an enquiry about this to the NZ Police website, and they responded with a link to their website.

I cannot find anything in this site that directly answers your question, Mr McDowall.

However, also on the police website was the following:

In general, the speed limit for cars on main rural roads and motorways is 100km/h, and 50km/h on urban roads, unless signs say otherwise.

In some circumstances, you are liable to get a speeding ticket if you drive more than 4km/h over the limit:

• School zones - within 250m of school and preschool boundaries.

• During official holiday periods - these are publicised in the media and on this website.

For the last three summers, the 4km/h tolerance has been extended to cover the period December 1-January 31.

I would tend to err on the side of caution, and set your cruise control a little lower.

• Derek Smith has sent in the following: "I wanted to inform Aucklanders about a real out-there effort that every working day takes 17 cars off the Northern Motorway. The Mahu Express, a 16-seater bus, takes commuters from Snells Beach and Warkworth into downtown Queen St each weekday morning and home again each evening from Albert St. The guy who organises it got sick of sitting in traffic jams on the Northern Motorway and went out and got his bus driver's licence, purchased a bus, and got Auckland Transport to let him use the Northern Busway. All the while he's holding down a day job in central Auckland.

Now, instead of 17 more cars on the motorway, there is one bus, 16 passengers who don't have the stress of driving and they have a quicker time into Queen St. (www.mahucityexpress.co.nz)

Surely this must be the future for the edge-of-Auckland commute into the city, especially as under the Auckland plan Warkworth is expected to more than double in size with new houses.

Perhaps Auckland Transport should be l organising similar small buses from every far-out place. However, there is a substantial cost attached to this option: $15 each trip - that's each way.

- NZ Herald

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