A static speed camera in Northland was the highest earner in New Zealand, issuing $4.8 million worth of tickets over 12 months.

Police say since the speed camera was installed combined with intersection modifications there have been no serious or fatal crashes on the high-risk section of road subject to a maximum speed of 80km/h.

But according to a senior Automobile Association official the "gross" number of tickets being issued showed the camera was failing and motorists were not changing their driving behaviour and slowing down.

AA general manager of motoring affairs Mike Noon said better signage was needed to highlight the fact there was a fixed camera at Kauri on State Highway, just north of Whangarei, as was the normal practise overseas.

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Police statistics show last year the camera, between Saleyards and Snake Hill Roads, snapped 46,917 speeding motorists, generating $4,830,450 in fines.

February saw 6652 tickets issued and in July there were 6272 tickets posted out to errant drivers.

"The issuing of $4.8 million in tickets should be ringing alarm bells and there should have been an intervention before that occurred to see what else could be done in that area to help people slow down. The volume of tickets is identifying a failure," Noon said.

"I don't support a camera issuing such a gross number of tickets. More work needs to be done on to explain the correct speed for the high-risk area. Also if there are signs about cameras it removes the ability for people to call it revenue gathering."

A speed camera at Kauri, on State Highway 1, on the outskirts of Whangarei.
A speed camera at Kauri, on State Highway 1, on the outskirts of Whangarei.

Police said between 2008 and 2012 there were 40 crashes of which 24 per cent involved excessive speed, which compared with a national average for the type of state highway of 13 per cent.

Inspector Wayne Ewers said since the camera was erected there had been no serious or fatal crashes on the road.

"At the end of the day since if people slow down the chances of survival are higher."

Ewers said a third of fatal crashes every year in Northland were as a result of speed often with factors including impairment and not wearing a seatbelt.

NZ Transport Agency statistics show Northland had the highest number of speed-related serious and fatal crashes per 100,000 population in the last three months of 2018.

Regional Transport Committee member John Bain said regular users of the road would be well aware the speed limit was 80km/h.

But he agreed better signage of the speed and the fact there was a speed camera would make a majority of road users slow to the legal speed limit.

The only other fixed speed camera in Northland is south of Kaiwaka between Settlement and Schiska Roads. It became operational in August 2018 and up to December issued 3594 tickets, generating $370,780 in fines.

The police statistics also reveal there was a total of 71,434 speeding infringements issued in Northland last year generating a total of $7,405,270.

Mobile speed cameras — the vans seen parked on the side of the road — saw 13,632 infringements issued ($1,216,740) while officer issued speed offences over 2018 were 7291 ($987,300).

There are 106 static speed cameras across New Zealand and last year 611,718 tickets were issued — almost half of all tickets issued in 2018.

A camera in Waitemata West, on Rata St, actually issued more tickets than the Northland camera, but generated $4,338,360 in fines.

In a statement about a horror run of 28 road deaths in 10 days this month, assistant commissioner Sandra Venables said police could not make roads safer on their own.

"We need everyone's help to keep our roads safe. Remember, decisions you make as a driver impact not only on you, but on everybody else on the road," Venables said.

As of Thursday last week, Ministry of Transport data showed 114 people had died on the roads this year, one fewer than had died by the same point in 2018. Twelve of those killed were under the age of 16.