More than 200 Tauranga drivers were spotted flouting the road rules yesterday but a top police officer is not surprised by the results.

The Bay of Plenty Times yesterday spent 15 minutes observing driver behaviour at two of Tauranga's busiest intersections, Cameron Rd and 9th Ave, and Cameron Rd and 15th Ave.

At the 15th Ave traffic lights, 28 drivers sped through an orange light instead of stopping and five ran a red light.

At the roundabout, 189 people indicated incorrectly or not at all.


The results of the sting came as no surprise to Western Bay of Plenty's head of road policing, Senior Sergeant Ian Campion, who said the region was over represented in intersection crashes.

"The issue really with intersections is that people need to focus. Intersections require quite complex driving and decision making skills. Drivers need to be alert at all times."

Mr Campion said there were a whole range of intersections across the Western Bay where people did not take sufficient care.

Occupants of a vehicle were vulnerable to injury in intersection crashes, particularly at high speed intersections.

Mr Campion said these crashes were usually survivable at 50km/h or less, but over that, the chance of serious injury or death increased significantly.

The fine for failing to indicate at a roundabout was $150.

The issue really with intersections is that people need to focus. Intersections require quite complex driving and decision making skills. Drivers need to be alert at all times.


BOP Driving School instructor Jeroen van der Beek said there was a big problem with people not knowing how to indicate correctly at roundabouts.

"You must always indicate left when leaving a roundabout.

"Most people seem to think when going straight ahead, you don't indicate left leaving.

"I have a battle with that one, because mum and dad say you don't have to indicate leaving.

"I had a girl who did her test and got 100 per cent, except at three roundabouts.

"Her mum had told her 'don't indicate left when going straight through'. She failed."

Mr van der Beek said there was also a problem with drivers changing lanes while turning at roundabouts, particularly at the Bayfair roundabout.

He also believed running orange lights was down to driver arrogance rather than not knowing the rules.

"At an orange light, you must stop if you can in a controlled manner, otherwise keep going.

"The majority of people think an orange light means put your foot down and race it.

"If you're doing a driving test and you're going through an orange light, if it changes to red before you're through, it's an instant fail."

St John Western Bay of Plenty territory manager Ross Clarke said people leaving their indicators on was an issue at roundabouts.

A few years ago, people leaving the Oropi Rd and State Highway 29 roundabout were leaving their indicators on, resulting in crashes.

The survey results:

Cameron Rd/15th Ave intersection

* Red light runners: 5

* Speeding through orange lights: 28

* Not indicating: 19

Cameron Rd/9th Ave roundabout

* Not indicating leaving the roundabout when travelling straight through: 175

* Not indicating for a left turn: 13

* Indicating in the wrong direction: 1

- Surveys completed at 11.55am and 12.30pm yesterday
Problem intersections in Tauranga:

* Elizabeth St and Cameron Rd: blocking the intersection at peak traffic

* Cameron Rd and 15th Ave

* Fraser St and 15th Ave

* Welcome Bay roundabout: blocking the intersection at peak traffic

* Poike roundabout

* Bayfair roundabout: drivers using wrong lanes deliberately

* Cambridge Rd and Moffat Rd: stop sign runners

* Hollister Lane and Poike Rd

* Hewletts Rd and Totara St

- Senior Sergeant Ian Campion
Tips for keeping safe at intersections:

* Drive defensively. Anticipate there may be problems.

* Slow down and be ready to brake when approaching an intersection.

* Establish eye contact with drivers to confirm they've seen you.

* Be alert at all times, particularly during peak periods.

* Stop safely in a position where you have the best visibility.

* Do a good search and make sure the way is clear before you pull out.

* Make sure if there are two lanes approaching, that a vehicle in an inside lane isn't hidden by a vehicle in an outside lane.

* Signal for at least three seconds.

* Maintain following distances to give yourself more time to react.

* Don't enter an intersection if the exit is blocked by traffic.