Speed Limit Campaign Failed


Clearly the Labour weekend campaign to make us believe doing 54k would cause accidents didn’t work -although it did boost the police revenue as I saw drivers pulled over.

The issues that cause bad driving and dangerous driving remain to be addressed.

This is from the logs over the weekend from just one police district. They were supplied by the Western Bay of Plenty Police. They are not cases of people doing 54k.

  • The youngest driver facing prosecution is a 17 year old local male who returned a breath alcohol result of 400 micrograms
  • The oldest was an 81 year old male from Cambridge with a breath test result of 624 micrograms.
  • Police referred a 13 year old child to Youth Aid Section and Child Youth and Family services after he led police on a short pursuit. The youth was spotted by police driving at 73km/h in a 50 km/h zone as he sped through a red traffic light, He then drove through a second red light and into a dead end street and onto a private address where he was located by Police. The youth has also been drinking but returned a breath result of just under the youth alcohol limit.
  • A motorcyclist was checked at 200 km/h on State Highway 2 near Katikati. The motorcyclist evaded apprehension by driving up a rural road and hiding in orchard properties.
  • Two motorcycles were checked at 175kmh near Bay Park, Police stopped one of the motorcycles near Papamoa. The rider is facing dangerous driving charges and had his licence suspended immediately.
  • Several other drivers where caught travelling at speeds of up to 147 km/h on WBOP Roads.
  • 153 Drivers received instant fines for exceeding the speed limit. 34 for not wearing seatbelts and 365 for other offences varying from graduated licence breaches, intersection breaches through to no WOF and vehicle related offences.
  • 14 drivers had their vehicles impounded and police will be applying to the courts to have the vehicles of those drivers who qualify, confiscated by the Courts and sold.

Acting senior sergeant Mark Holmes said that he’s disappointed that despite all the advertising, crashes and apprehensions, drink driving is still a major problem in this area, just as it is across New Zealand, adding: “We’ve all seen the ads, its that simple, speeding causes crashes.”

The AA in a statement on the weekend says: “The AA believes there are a lot of reasons why people crash. “We focus a lot on drink driving and speeding, but we also need to help people understand that poor observation, distraction and fatigue can be just as fatal.”

See also debate in Lower speed for Long weekend




  1. kyotolaw says:

    Speed causes crashes? yes - at 150+ an hour…

    Not certain that the police are achieving much by focusing on the 6kph between 104 and 110kph… Except generating a lot of revenue…

  2. Kurt says:

    We allow unfettered alcohol advertising that hugely encourages its consumption, easily grant licences to sell booze practically anywhere, especially deep in the suburbs and make it cheap and then wonder why we have issues with alcohol.

    I suspect this government has far too many mates/donors in the industry to want to do anything meaningful with alcohol.

  3. Jon C says:

    @kyotolaw The 4k limit didn’t have any noticeable impact on the road toll but I saw numerous drivers stopped. It’s certainly easy to get to 54k

  4. anthony says:

    I just got my learners drivers license yesterday. and yet, i still don’t even know the give way rules correctly.
    lack of training is one true problem i see in nz.

  5. Matt says:

    anthony, that is concerning, but I’ll be more worried if you can graduate to your restricted and still not know them correctly.

    The easy way to figure it out is that if the other vehicle will hit your driver’s side (assuming your paths are meant to cross), you’re doing it wrong.

  6. anthony says:

    I’m getting my restricted in a couple of weeks. i’ll see if anything concerning would arise from that.

  7. Jon C says:

    It’s far too easy to get a licence and there are far too many bad drivers on the roads often driving dangerously. You see examples every day. The police trying to kid us that doing 54k will lead to road deaths over the weekend turned out to be nonsense. It can be seen only as a revenue gathering exercise.

  8. Matt says:

    anthony, sorry, what?! Learner’s yesterday, restricted in a couple of weeks? How’s that work?

  9. Chris says:

    I failed to give way in my restricted test. He also told me not to drive slow which is not what most testers say, so I went 5km/hr over the speed limit the whole time. Most would have failed me for that. He also told me off for lack of mirror use.

    At least I knew the guy who was testing me, so I passed!

  10. anthony says:

    @matt Sorry, i meant a couple of months.

  11. Scott says:

    I had a testing officer say I could exceed the speed limit on one of my tests.

    There was road works on a side road, and (very long) long stretch of the main road was limited down to 30km/h (Included a long bridge, and maybe the signs would not fit on the bridge). So I am driving at under around 28 km/h with a huge line of cars backed up behind me and he says its ok to go faster. I was very surprised, I had been told that breaking ANY laws was an instant failure, but seems its not.

  12. karl says:

    Jon C, I am worried that the whole hubbub about the 4km thing is again lowering the little respect our drivers have for the police. I feel we should have a 4km (or 0km!) limit ALL the time.

    Speed DOES kill, it is a similarly bad factor like drunk driving. Not only do generally lower (or more locally appropriate speeds) cause fewer crashes because people have more time to react, when crashes occur, speeds at lower speeds they are disproprotionally LESS lethal. In other words, reducing speeds by half doesn’t halve deaths, it reduces them by much more.

    The exact values vary, because it’s a curve and it depends whether you hit another car, or a pedestrian or cyclist - but a car crashing into a pedestrian at 30km causes about 1/6th of the fatalities that a car crashing into him at 60km does). So yes, SPEED KILLS, despite the people claiming otherwise. Hard science, and thousands of horribly mangled bodies prove it.

    So yes, the 4km was a “advertising gimmick” in some ways. But only because it wasn’t consistent. If it was in force ALL the time, and our police and our gutless transport politicians would stand firm against the resulting accusations of revenue gathering, then excess speeds would soon drop.

    Traffic enforcement and perception of traffic enforcement are so lame here in NZ, it’s one of the few areas where I wish I was living in a society where the rules are much more dictatorial.

  13. Jon C says:

    @Karl An Aussie friend was telling me they have speed zero tolerance (not sure which state) every long weekend. I agree speed kills and I shook my fist at someone doing about 90 down Lake Rd and driving erratically at the weekend with no cop in sight while I was keeping to a strict 50!
    But the causes of the bad Kiwi drivers are more complex than just running a campaign telling the majority of good drivers they cant drive over 4k more than the limit or will be fined
    What about the recidivist drunk drivers who manage to notch up endless convictions or those who get endless fines and just give the law the fingers because they never pay and keep reoffending. I dont know why there are so many bad drivers in NZ but it’s very noticeable when you drive overseas.

  14. Anthony says:

    @ Karl - Speed doesnt kill. It just increases the chances of casualties if there is an accident.

    I speed, but I have full control of my vehicle, and because I also drive a motorcycle I am good at seeing & reponding to potential dangers. In many instances, I have used my ‘familarity’ with the accelerator, to get of potential crashes.

  15. Pickle says:

    I think we need to have tougher demerit points too- e.g 20 demerit points for doing 110-120 should be 50.

  16. karl says:

    @ Karl – Speed doesnt kill. It just increases the chances of casualties if there is an accident.

    You just made my point. Thank you.

  17. Matt says:

    Average open road speeds are below 110km/h. At that point, the difference between average and posted is minimal in terms of force imparted in a crash and lost reaction time. Similarly, of the many fatal crashes I’ve attended on suburban streets, none that I recall (we never went to car v ped or car v cyclist, so the dynamics change somewhat) were at speeds even approximating the posted limit. People doing 80, 90, 130, 140, those were the ones whose crashes contribute to the road toll. The really serious ones, the double-, triple- and quadruple- fatality crashes, were all well in excess of 50km/h. The two most-memorable multiple-fatalities for me were both 150km/h-plus along suburban streets, and other single-fatalities that stick out for various reasons were, similarly, way over 100km/h in 50km/h areas. Speeds that would’ve attracted a significant fine, if not automatic licence suspension, on the open road.

    Karl, technically speed doesn’t kill. If that simplistic statement were true, astronauts, fighter pilots and F1 drivers would all be dead in their seats. It’s what happens when speed turns into a sudden stop that kills you.

    The drivers who’re just tickling the speed limit aren’t the problem, by and large. Often they’re very safe, aware drivers. The problems are the very slow, who make others impatient and trigger poor decisions as a result, and the very fast, whose speeds are so excessive for the conditions that their reaction times cannot possibly make up for the additional danger.
    It’s widely acknowledged that the biggest risk factor for speed-related crashes is where there’s a large difference between the top and bottom of the speed curve. If your 25th percentile and your 75th percentile are quite close together, it’s not a significant problem. If they’re separated by 50% of the posted limit, though, then you’ve got something to worry about.

  18. Matt says:

    And on the topic of the campaign, if reports of Graham Henry’s speeding ticket let-off are true I hope the cop gets a slapping with a very thick phone book. 62% above the posted limit is not roadside-discretion territory!


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