The Far North is to get its first fixed speed camera — and it’s a new-generation camera with automatic number plate recognition technology being installed on State Highway 1 in an effort to make driving safer.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said the new camera was part of its commitment to achieving Road to Zero, a vision where no deaths or serious injuries occur on our roads.
To support this, Waka Kotahi will be installing a new safety camera in Northland. So far in Northland this year, 22 people have died on the region’s roads, including nine in the Far North.
This compares with 12 at the same stage last year. The 2022 total of 38 road deaths was the highest in 22 years.
Waka Kotahi director regional relationships Steve Mutton says the installation of this camera is a crucial step towards improving road safety in Northland, particularly on high-risk roads where the likelihood of deaths and serious injuries is higher.
The safety camera will be operated as a static speed camera, measuring vehicle speeds towards or away from the camera. It will be fixed on SH1 between Kawakawa and Moerewa and is due to be installed this month.
It is the first static/fixed speed camera in the Far North and the first of the new “halo” cameras in the country.
“Safety cameras are just one of the many tools that can be utilised to promote safe and efficient travel in Te Tai Tokerau,’’ Mutton said.
“The primary objective of safety cameras is to support the moderation of speed across our road network to reduce crashes that cause deaths or serious injuries. Even small reductions in speed can significantly reduce the risk of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”
He said initially, the camera will be in test mode to ensure all operational and legal requirements are met. At the end of this testing, the camera will start enforcing offences to promote safe driving habits and encourage motorists to adhere to speed limits.
Mutton said overseas evidence had shown the use of safety cameras significantly reduced the rate of deaths and serious injuries when combined with safe speed limits.
Fixed static speed cameras are used to measure the speed of vehicles (travelling to or away from the camera), identify which lane they are travelling in and differentiate between vehicles such as heavy trucks and cars, which have different speed limits. An infrared flash enables number plate information to be captured in the dark.
This camera will have automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) capability. A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is in progress that will ensure the appropriate safeguards and policies are in place to manage the test data collected. The PIA will be published on the Waka Kotahi website before the safety camera is installed.
The site in Kawakawa is the preferred location based on:
- Meets Waka Kotahi’s definition of a high-risk site.
- The posted speed limit of 80km/h is the assessed safe and appropriate speed.
- The average (actual) driving speed is above the posted speed limit of 80km/h.
- The location meets all criteria for installation, such as providing enough space for the camera and having good mobile phone reception.