Lower Speed For Long Weekend


This long weekend, the police are re-introducing the reduced speed tolerance they ran over Queens Birthday.

Police will operate a reduced speed tolerance to 4 kilometres per hour over any speed limit for the official holiday period which is from 4 pm Friday through to 6 am Tuesday.

Police say they’ll be out in force with as many officers on the frontline as possible and action being taken against anyone breaking the road laws
The Queen’s Birthday road toll was the lowest in more than 50 years with only one death. There was also a reduction in the number of crashes overall from 341 last year to 292 this year.

“We know that if we can keep speeds down, we can keep crashes down and that is what we are hoping for this weekend”, said Superintendent Paula Rose today.

This weekend, police will also target drivers who fail to keep left and slow or inconsiderate drivers.

Last year at Labour Weekend there were 8 deaths, 28 serious injuries and 104 minor injuries.
The most common crash causes were losing control (34%), alcohol (25%), inattention (20%), and travelling too fast for conditions (14%).

“If we can reduce speeds on the roads, we can reduce the number of crashes and the severity of any that may occur. People will always make mistakes and what we want to do is ensure that one mistake does not cost them their lives,” she said.

Cracking down on speed and drink driving

Police will be operating a “wraparound” campaign which will target the known problems, alcohol, speed and failure to keep left.

Meanwhile, more than 500 drivers were caught speeding around Western Bay of Plenty schools between 11 and 15 October in a police operation targeting speed around schools, kindergartens and play centres.

The operation resulted in 464 speed camera and 40 Officer issued  speeding infringements.

The highest speed recorded in a 40km/h school zone was 60km/h and 72 in a 50 km/h School zone.

Police estimate it would take an alert driver 45meters at 60km/h and 57 meters at 72km/h to stop from these speeds.




  1. Matt says:

    And, of course, nobody will be driving more safely because there are more cops on the road, regardless of any particular speed limit enforcement target. No siree, won’t happen. It’s all down to speed, not driver behaviour or our get-it-from-a-cornflakes-packet history of “testing” drivers licence candidates.

  2. GJA says:

    “Police will be operating a “wraparound” campaign which will target the known problems, alcohol, speed and failure to keep left.”

    Since when do we need to keep left? If you just drive on the Auckland motorways you will notice that there is no sense of people keeping left. People think they have right of way in all lanes of the motorway and think it is acceptable to do drive at 70-80 in the right hand lane. This frustrates driver who then overtake on the left.

  3. Matt says:

    GJA, what they mean is drivers who don’t keep as far left as practicable when holding up other traffic, and drivers who overtake dangerously.
    It’s legal to drive in any lane you want on the motorway (so long as you’re going in the same direction as the prevailing traffic flow), as we don’t have “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” mandated in law.

  4. Chris says:

    what you failed to write was that after last queens birthday they announced that:
    1 - there was hardly any police on duty
    2 - the speed camera vans on the side of the motorways were only there to slow traffic (the cameras werent switched on and there was no-one inside the vans)

  5. James B says:

    Well that’s all very well good, but when are they going to start cracking down on motorists and cyclists who run red lights in the city. This is the epidemic that really needs addressing.
    @Matt, the driver licensing process is far more stringent now than in the past.
    First you have to sit a test to learn the road rules and then you have to be supervised.
    Second you need to sit an extensive practical exam, that covers car control, hazard identification and a number of other things and then you still can’t even have passengers or drive between 10pm and 7am.
    Third you have to sit another test.
    You could argue that we need to have power limitations for young/inexperienced drivers and mandatory defensive driving courses. But you cannot say that it is an easy process.
    I went through this process a little over 5 years ago and in that time have had 2 accidents, both were the fault of older so called experienced drivers. My parent’s couldn’t believe what their children had to do, as back in their day a driving test was a quick drive around the block with a MoT official in the passenger seat.

  6. Matt says:

    Chris, there’s often nobody in the van.

    James, yes the tests are harder now than they used to be, but, guess what: the vast majority of drivers on NZ roads went through much less testing than you had to, and an even greater majority have had very little, if any, professional driving instruction. The restrictions that attach to licence classes haven’t changed in decades, either. I, too, wasn’t allowed to carry passengers or be out late at night without a supervisor, and I’ve had my full car licence for nearly 14 years.
    I still think it’s too easy to get a licence and too hard to lose one. The proposed changes to the testing regime are a step in the right direction, but I still want drivers to be subjected to regular re-testing of at least their theory knowledge.

  7. James B says:

    @Matt The problem is that many people are scapegoating young drivers by saying it’s too easy to get a license. I agree that possibly more needs to be done to ensure that drivers are continuing to drive well and safely after they get their drivers license, but I fail to see how making the existing licensing process progressively harder will ensure that.

  8. Matt says:

    James, at some point all of the young drivers who have to go through this harder testing will be old drivers. Changes to the quality of driver education and licensing are multi-generational, and saying “it’s not doing anything to fix the problem right now” is a good way to ensure that nothing is ever done.

  9. Matt says:

    Oh, and James, statistics are not on the side of young drivers in the safety stakes. Until such time as their crash rates are lower than for older age groups, they’re going to be the focus of safety and enforcement efforts.

  10. James B says:

    “get-it-from-a-cornflakes-packet history of “testing” drivers licence candidates.” That’s your quote and that’s what I’m arguing against. Your argument seems to boil down to ‘if we make the test really hard, people will remember it for longer’. I quite agree that driver education needs to be increased, but I will stand by my claim that the driver licensing test is pretty rigorous.

  11. Matt says:

    James, I know what I said. And your mother’s story backs it up: show up for a “quick drive around the block” and ta-da, there’s your licence. It was harder than that for me, but not by much. To get my restricted I had to demonstrate that I was capable of following the road rules for 15 minutes while supervised by a retired traffic cop: no hazard identification, no multi-lane roads, no high-speed traffic.

    It’s not that you remember it better if it’s harder, it’s that you have to be better to pass in the first place. And hopefully that higher standard will remain with you beyond passing the test. The exit test was an improvement on just being tested to get your restricted, but it’s still not, in its current incarnation, difficult to get a driver’s licence. Defensive and advanced driver training are optional, not mandatory. There’s much more to driving than just knowing the rules, and most of it is the stuff that you learn from experience rather than a book. If you have to learn that stuff under supervision before you’re allowed to get your full licence, all the better.

    If you think the test is rigorous, why are our young-driver fatality statistics so bad? We’re near the bottom of the OECD, even with our “rigorous” test. And if you think it’s rigorous now, think about how many millions of people are driving around right now who never had to pass half the testing you did, if they had to pass much of a test at all.

  12. damian says:

    In traffic accident blackspots all we need to do is employ the use of average speed cameras.

    It works in the UK, and it will work here.

    Likewise if we put average speed camera’s on the motorway congestion would ease and the traffic would flow a lot better.

  13. Matt says:

    damian, I’d be very hesitant to hold the UK up as an example of what we should be doing with speed cameras.

  14. Joshua says:

    @ Matt - “It’s legal to drive in any lane you want on the motorway (so long as you’re going in the same direction as the prevailing traffic flow), as we don’t have “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” mandated in law.” - Not specifically, however we do have the keep left rule which applies in this situation. I think everyone needs to read the rode code because it’s quite clearly mentioned there. So technically if you are going slower in the faster lane you can still be pinged by law.

  15. Matt says:

    Joshua, given the various exceptions to “keep left” when applied to a muti-lane road it would be a hard sell to enforce. Especially given that there’s a long-standing situation of the law not being enforced, which gives a solid defence.

  16. damian says:


    Why do you say that?
    Average speed camera enforce speed, period!

  17. Matt says:

    damian, because speed cameras in the UK have become a symbol of policing bodies that only want to tackle an issue if it’s easily done with minimal resources, at minimal cost, and can be easily shown on a report to the Home Office by the Chief Constable at the end of the financial year.
    The debate over their efficiency has reached such levels that one town (in Oxfordshire, IIRC) pulled them all out. Reducing average speeds is not the same as reducing the number of crashes, and unless you’re talking about significant reductions in speed you’re not talking about huge differences to fatality rates. The difference between 55 and 50, unless it’s car v ped, is not huge in a modern car. The difference between 110 and 100 is, similarly, not substantial, and becoming less substantial with every new generation of automotive construction technology. Speed cameras are the cheap, lazy way of enforcing the law, and by their passive nature they don’t stop people in the act of doing something which they ought not be doing.

  18. damian says:


    I am taking about average speed camera not single posted cameras.

    A camera is placed at the start of the “accident blackspot” and one at the end. It measures your average speed through two set points.

    If the police decide that during the weekend, the speed through this particular site is to be reduced by 10kph to say 70kph, then those drivers exceeding the average speed through the start and end gates of the camera will be fined.

  19. Matt says:

    damian, they’re still passive, and they’re still speed cameras. Their utility is limited to after-the-fact enforcement, which in light of the weekend’s road toll is a particularly pointless exercise. What makes you think they would be any more effective than the current speed camera operations? People still get snapped, in large numbers, despite knowing what the posted limit is and knowing that there are cameras about.

    Also, as far as I’m concerned the only bodies that should be setting anything other than a very temporary limit at a transient event are local councils. Be it approving a traffic management plan for road works, or gazetting a long-term limit change, that’s their role. The police are not there to decide what speed limits should be.

  20. damian says:


    If you drive through any roadworks site in the UK for which the average speed cameras are set up for, you will find as I have, that everybody sticks to the 50mph speed limit. They do this because they know that they will get fined for going traveling too fast.

    Once the traffic exits the area where the average speed camera’s are enforced, the traffic then speeds up back to the open road limit. Motorway speeds in the UK have a limit of 70mph, but most drivers sit on between 85-90mph in the fast lane knowing that the police will give them a warning for speeding if they do get caught.

    Average speed cameras have been proven to reduce speed through roadworks sites, and there in no reason why this system would not work on our traffic blackspots.

  21. Matt says:

    damian, that doesn’t change the fact that speed cameras are passive, and that reducing speeds doesn’t equate to reducing crashes. It may make them less serious, but it doesn’t stop them happening.
    Plus, until we deal with general driver attitudes in NZ all you’re going to do is encourage more “driving like a dick” by people who will continue to overtake on blind corners or on the brow of a steep hill because they don’t like having to do the speed limit.

  22. damian says:

    Matt, average speed cameras are not passive, they are active and they work, and I am not sure how you can state that reducing speeds does not equate to reducing crashes.
    That said, if the crashes still do occur and they are less serious because of the lower speed then they have served their purpose.

    Driver education is another story and I agree with you.

  23. Matt says:

    damian, they’re cameras. By definition they’re passive. Cops pulling someone over is active. Calculating average speed and sending a ticket in the mail is passive.

    When you’re talking about speed differences of 5 or 10km/h, the decrease in the speed makes minimal difference to how often crashes occur on the open road. The difference between 100 and 105 is negligible. The difference between 50 and 55 is more significant, but unless you hit a child it’s not dramatically more likely to result in death. Stopping distance increases by two or three metres, which can be important, and distance covered until reaction increases by a couple of metres. But they’re not speeds that are generally fatal.

    If you’re reducing speeds from 140, 150, 160 to 100, then yes, that’s likely to reduce crashes. Not enormously, but a bit. It’ll reduce the severity markedly, though. What doesn’t make a huge difference is getting people from 105 to 100, which is what the whole 4km/h tolerance is about. Doesn’t matter. At that point, education and training, along with good engineering, make far more difference.

  24. damian says:

    I would argue that a cop pulling over a speeding motorist is reactive rather than pro active.

    I am not sure why you are so against the idea for traffic blackspots where speeding has been a contributing factor to the accident.

    Driver education is one thing, but you’ll always get the rouge driver no matter how well the education.
    Engineering for our roads, well lets increase road taxes so we can re build our roads to a better state.
    There are lots of things we can do, but they all cost money and time. Something we dont have at the moment.

  25. Matt says:

    damian, a cop pulling you over catches you in the act. It associates the consequence with the action. A ticket in the mail divorces action and consequence. Same logic behind putting a kid in time-out immediately rather than “Just wait til your father gets home!” punishment hours after the fact.

    Your definition of speeding and mine are clearly very different. Average speeds on NZ open roads are down below the 110km/h point, which is sufficiently close to the limit as to make little difference. I don’t consider that to be speeding in the sense that it matters a damn to causing a crash, which is where average speed measuring systems come into play.
    Also, what do those cameras do to catch the idiot who’s doing 95 in driving rain, on barely-legal tyres, with barely-functional brakes, on a newly-sealed road? They’re not breaking the law at all, except that they’re driving too fast for the conditions. A cop can catch that, a camera can’t. And it’s speed in excess of what’s safe for the conditions (like doing 90km/h and weaving between cars in rush-hour) that causes crashes, not speed in excess of some arbitrary posted limit. See the difference?


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