The Western Bay's first fixed speed camera is on its way.
Work is progressing on the installation of 33 fixed speed cameras in high-crash risk areas nationwide, but when Pukehina's speed camera will be installed is yet to be confirmed.
Pukehina is the only location in the Bay to get one of the speed cameras being installed across the country in an effort to drive down speeds and related deaths and injuries. Police are yet to confirm when the fixed camera, to be located on State Highway 2 between Waitahanui Lane and Otamarakau Valley Rd, will go live.
Currently, there are no static speed cameras operating in the Bay of Plenty police district, however, there are four mobile cameras.
Pukehina fire chief Errol Watts said he had attended a few serious crashes along the stretch of road between Waitahanui Lane and Otamarakau Valley Rd.
"We have not had any fatals on the stretch of road in the last 12 months, but there has been some pretty serious injuries," he said.
Mr Watts said traffic in Pukehina had "almost doubled" in the last three years. "It is a long stretch of road along here and people do tend to speed."
Mr Watts said the police had obviously identified the stretch of road as a high-crash area and he was in favour of the fixed speed camera.
"The speed limits are there for a reason ... but if you are not speeding the camera will not make any difference to you."
Acting Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Nicky Cooney said traffic experts identified the placement of the poles and cameras across the country as having a high crash risk, including where there was a history of fatalities and injury crashes.
"We know from international experience that speed cameras do have an impact on slowing people down, particularly around the sphere of influence of the camera."
There were 2400 camera-issued speeding tickets issued in the Western Bay in January this year compared to 543 in January 2016, according to the latest road policing driver offence data.
These tickets collected a total of $106,180 in fines in January 2017, compared to $20,740 in January 2016.
A total of 945 tickets worth $65,940 in fines were issued in February 2017 compared to 539 and $46,930 in March.
New speed camera a 'positive addition'
A Te Puke mother who learned her toddler might never walk again after a crash that left her entire family injured says a new fixed speed camera planned for Pukehina will be a positive addition.
The Lints family is still dealing with the aftermath from when a family picnic turned into a horrible nightmare when a van crossed the centre line and smashed into their 4WD on State Highway 2 five and a half years ago.
Monique Lints said she was happy to learn Pukehina would soon be one of 33 sites nationwide to have a fixed speed camera installed.
"It is one thing to have a fatality but it is one thing to have to live with an injury for the rest of your lives. My whole family suffered injuries from that crash and that is the impact," Mrs Lints said.
"Any measures that are taken to make us better and safer drivers is a positive thing," she said. "If a speed camera makes people more aware of their speed that is good."
Mrs Lints fractured her pelvis and broke her wrist, her husband, Grenville, suffered bruising to his entire body, 8-month-old Dan suffered minor injuries and their 2-year-old son Aiden's spine was partially severed. He has since defied the odds of being told he would never walk again.
"We are just lucky to be alive," Mrs Lints said.
The mother of three said she still suffered pain in her arm and hip and struggled to sleep at night. "It is an ongoing thing," she said. "Sometimes I struggle to sit and stand."
Their son, Dan, was struggling to come to terms with the accident. "Even being 8 months old this has taken a bit of his childhood away," Mrs Lints said. "We are dealing with that as a family."
But things have looked up for the Lints family, who take every day as it comes.
"Aiden is our inspiration," she said. "He is what gets me out of bed every day."
Eight-year-old Aiden was now trying to walk unaided and had just competed in his first Halberg Junior Disability Games.
"He is not really in his wheelchair much any more," Mrs Lints said. "But the fatigue is still quite high. He is invincible and taking on the world."
SHOULD WE REINTRODUCE FIXED SPEED CAMERAS TO THE REGION?
"We have to look at how many accidents there are in the region and whether the speed is adhered to or not to see whether it is necessary."
- Barb Young, Mount Maunganui
"No, because when you are driving around sometimes you forget they are there."
- Gail Neely, Tauranga
"No, we do not need any more fines. They are effective, but it is a revenue-gathering thing. We would have to look at the crash rates."
- Geordie Gardiner, Tauranga
"Not necessarily speed cameras, but I think there should be more cameras at red lights."
- Rosie Martin-Bain, Tauranga
"Yes, anything to slow people down."
- Rachael Murphy, Tauranga