Hidden Speed Camera Trial To Be Extended

  • Maurice Williamson

Cabinet today approved an extension of the hidden speed camera trial in the Midland region from 1 January 1999 to 30 June 1999.

Mr Williamson said the official evaluation of the trial carried out between July 1997 and June 1998 showed that the hidden speed cameras had directly contributed to a significant fall in road deaths and injuries.

It was conducted in 100km/h speed camera areas in the Midland Police Region, comprising the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne areas. The effectiveness of the cameras was measured by comparing speeds, crash rates and public attitudes in the trial area with the rest of the country.

During the trial, deaths on open roads in the trial area dropped by 26 percent, a much greater reduction than the 10 percent fall seen over the same period in the rest of the country. Serious and minor injuries on the open road also showed a greater reduction in the trial area, down by an extra two and six percent respectively.

Mr Williamson said hiding the cameras increased their effectiveness as a deterrent. Compared to the rest of the country, average speeds were down by 0.9 km/h throughout the trial area and by 2.3 km/h at hidden speed camera sites. Even greater reductions were seen at higher speeds.

Mr Williamson said the evaluation showed a growing acceptance by people in the trial region of the use of hidden cameras and an increased expectation that speeding drivers would be prosecuted.

'Too often we don't link speed to road crashes, and tend to blame anything from slow drivers to the weather," said Mr Williamson. "But the facts are simple: speed is the number one killer on our roads. The faster you drive, the more likely you are to crash, and the faster you crash, the more likely you are to die.'

Last year, excessive speed contributed to 137 fatal crashes, 439 serious injury crashes and 1022 minor injury crashes.

The trial was managed by the National Road Safety Committee, which comprises representatives from the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA), the NZ Police, Transit New Zealand, the Ministry of Transport and Accident Compensation Rehabilitation Corporation.