Signs for speed cameras

September 20th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Mike Noon from the writes in the Herald:

The AA is one of the leading campaigners in New Zealand, we support the use of and do not condone speeding. But let’s take a step back for a moment and consider what is the ultimate aim of the cameras? The answer is obviously getting drivers to slow down.

Fixed speed cameras (the ones mounted on permanent poles) are placed in safety black-spots where there has been a history of speed-related crashes. …

The fact that some of these cameras are still issuing thousands of tickets shows the current approach isn’t succeeding and that speeds are not being managed.

Having signs alerting drivers that there is a speed camera area or camera operating ahead will ensure more drivers slow down in these black-spots, and this has to be a good thing.

The other key point in this debate is that the AA is only calling for signs ahead of fixed speed cameras. We support the continued use of mobile cameras without signage, such as vans on the side of the road.

So if a driver chooses to slow down for a signposted fixed camera and then speed back up again, they can be caught by the anytime, anywhere mobile cameras, and of course they can be caught by police officers on patrol. Our call is not about helping drivers to avoid tickets, it’s about getting drivers to slow down and to check their speed, especially in high-risk areas.

Having signs alerting drivers to a fixed speed camera is done in Australia, Britain, and most other countries we compare ourselves to for road safety best practice.

I think the AA makes incredibly valid points, and the Police and Government should reconsider their policy. Otherwise the suspicion will remain that revenue is more important than safety.

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36 Responses to “Signs for speed cameras”

  1. Andrei (2,651 comments) says:

    Its has always been about revenue and not about safety.

    How many lives are saved by pinging little old ladies for doing 106Kph on steep downhill stretches of motorway where no accidents have ever occurred? Hmmmm

    Katching katching the dollars roll in while the psychotic do their thing and provide the excuse

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  2. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Call me odd, Ive found the very best way to avoid speeding tickets is to avoid speeding.

    Who knew???

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  3. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    This government is no different to the previous socialist one: their MPs claimed one thing while in Opposition, just to take a 180-degree shift once in power.

    Look at the gap between what Smith, Key, Power, English and Collins have said before and then done. All of them are a pack of liars.

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  4. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    IMO speed camera signs are counter-productive. However Police and NZ Transport Agency should investigate camera sites catching the most offenders to check that there is proper speed limit signage, whether a reminder speed limit sign or an advisory sign should be installed.

    Think about Sanson. I do not know where the camera is there, but if it is where there are lots of houses, I would have no sympathy for those caught there – they are just not paying proper attention to their driving and are a hazard to residents and their kids.

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  5. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    Many cops i’ve chatted with after being pulled up for speeding have admitted that it is very much a game of cat and mouse, and not so much about saftey. Many serial speeders have this view also, Those that reguarly travel at 120+ and rarely get tickets could argue that a speed induced heightened sense of awareness is a safer scenario than blithely following the speed limit, fiddling with the radio, texting, talking to passengers, weaving, and generally just not paying attention to the fucking road or their surroundings.

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  6. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    As long as the speed cameras are set at the lower reeches of slopes on straight roads, at the end of passing lanes, and on open winding roads to catch minor crossing of the centerline whith no other vehicles within sight it is very hard to believe anything other than tokenism towards safety and a propensity for revenue gathering.
    Yes a vehicle not speeding will not incur a ticket and nor will the arsehole who goes to 100Kph on a passing lane after travelling many Kms on gentle curving roads in the leadup at 90 Kph.
    We share Highway 75, ChCh to Akaroa and it could be a goldmine for issueing tickets but I have yet to see after 11 years in Paradise, a vehicle pulled over for inconsiderate driving but with so much Hway constrained by topography and road conditions there would be more money available in that field.
    It wont happen as the lazy bastards would have to actually go out on patrol.
    We will however get a window of road patrol between the end of the ski season and the tourist buildup on the Otira Hway and Hway 1 in mid December, set your calving date by it, absolutely nothing to do with the coffee and lunch available as our tourist season gains momentum.

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  7. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    So hmmokrightitis, how do you make sure you don’t go up to 104km/hr when the road has a slight downward slope?

    Do (a) cruise at about 95 or slower, so that the inevitable variation with slope, wind etc keeps you below 104?

    (b) spend a lot of time watching your speedo, meaning less time watching the road?

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  8. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Rick,

    No, I sit on appx 102 on the open road, with cruise control on. If someone faster approaches me from behind, I move as far left as I can so they can pass. I watch my speedo every 20 seconds or so when CC isnt on, tip learnt driving in the army. Basically its about being a good attentive driver. Its not that hard.

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  9. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    Andrei – “Its has always been about revenue and not about safety.”

    I completely disagree.

    Are you suggesting that there is no causal link between speeding and safety, but there is a causal link between using fines as a disincentive to speed and intentionally gathering revenue as an end in itself?

    Think of it this way. If everyone obeyed the law, didn’t speed, and the government lost ticket revenue, but the accident toll came down, would they have succeeded or failed in their objective?

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  10. wf (441 comments) says:

    hey cabbage – I’ve had similar chats – one was after overtaking 36 assorted vehicles which had been trailing along at 76ks north on SH! So when we go to the overtaking lane north of the place with the plane I put the foot down and passed the lot – and got caught about halfway up the hill.
    Got a long lecture, long enough for all the vehicles to pass me. None of them could (or dared) overtake probably because of the police car. I pointed out that now what had been a safe overtake had been negated, and that now I would have to duck and dive to get past. He grinned wrote the ticket.

    Driving way out West of Sydney there used to be a sign warning of aerial planes detecting speedsters I always thought it was a joke until i read of someone actually being caught.

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  11. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    cabbage

    “… is very much a game of cat and mouse …”

    Or fishing. One fellow that pinged me declared enthusiastically “… that this is a really good spot”. Very amiable fellow.

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  12. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    hmmok… – your cruise control must be a lot better than mine to keep you within a 2km/hr tolerance!

    Also, 20 seconds is plenty of time to get to 105 and get a ticket.

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  13. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    OK, here’s a couple of starters:

    1. People that travel at 80 k and then speed up to over a 100k when they get to a passing lane. What’s that about?

    2. Should there be more focus on slow drivers given that they precipitate bad driving on the part of those that get pissed off and do stupid things to get past them? Should we recognise cause and effect or stick with right and wrong?

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  14. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    peterwn – “IMO speed camera signs are counter-productive.”

    Assuming that what you mean by “productive” is that speed cameras will slow people down, then you are completely wrong.

    Assuming that what you mean by “productive” is speed cameras will gather revenue, then, again, you are completely wrong.

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  15. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    thedavincimode – “100k when they get to a passing lane”

    Easy. You make the inside lane on a passing lane speed limit 70kmh. Outside lane stays a 100kmh

    Point the speed camera at the inside lane, and zap anyone going over 70. (only for a short time, so people get the idea)

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  16. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Au contraire.

    The behavioural response will be to maintain 80k in the r/h lane and not shift to the left.

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  17. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    I along with others including Sir Robert Jones have always maintained there should be no fixed speed limit. It should be up to the motorist to travel at a safe speed according to ALL conditions at the time.

    And it should be up to the Police to prove to a Court is they think a motorist is not doing so.

    Speed limits are arbitary and subjective. On a single stretch in a 100k area the safe speed could vary from less than 30k to over 140K according to ALL conditions.

    Until we train people to drive safely and then allow them to drive safely at whatever that speed may be we wont fix the current problems.

    Speed limits are a revenue device for the government.

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  18. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Poacher-Turned-Gamekeeper Judith Collins was recently quoted saying that speed cameras shouldn’t be signposted because then people would just slow down. I thought that was the whole point, you dumb bint!

    NZ speed limits are too low anyway relative to other countries. Should be 60kph in the city, 110 on the open road, and 120 on the motorway.

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  19. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    …with cruise control on…

    Pretty fancy cruise control system that can apply the brakes for you. Haven’t seen anything like that before other than the latest BMWs that can adjust their speed or will brake for you if the vehicle in front is too close and the Volvos that will slam the brakes on for you if you’re doing under 50 km/hr and a pedestrian is detected.

    1. People that travel at 80 k and then speed up to over a 100k when they get to a passing lane. What’s that about?

    Having travelled with someone who did this I quizzed them. They said they felt bad holding the people up behind them so wanted to go faster when the felt safe so as not to hold them up any more. It hadn’t occurred to them to slow down and let them pass.

    I actually think hmmokrightitis is close to right. It isn’t that hard in a modern car but without speed alarms it’s easy to have your speed creep up without noticing it, especially if you enjoy driving. However the simplest policy that could be introduced for road safety (not speed enforcement) is to have a campaign encouraging helping people overtake you and/or feeling comfortable adjusting your speed by a few km/hr to travel in a convoy rather than having to take every single car that appears in front of you. NZers are notoriously discourteous drivers and it shows in our road statistics.

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  20. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    thedavincimode – “The behavioural response will be to maintain 80k in the r/h lane and not shift to the left.”

    I suspect you’re right. Okay. Perhaps then, we make the law 70kmh for the inside lane and over 90 but under 100 for outside lane, and call it a cultural road rule, sanctioned by the government, *but not enforced with fines* just cultural disapprobation.

    note: over 100 still remains the fined speed limit.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    I can see that you are a lawmaker at heart Scott.

    How about three passing lanes and introduce the Formual One rule – only one blocking maneuvre permitted, after which you are required to maintain your line?

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  22. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    thedavincimode – “only one blocking maneuvre permitted”

    Ha. But speaking of law, if I made a law that was not effective, I would chuck it out, rather than tinker with it. Law to me is all about “desired” cause and effect.

    “Desired” IMO is a rough average of what society wants, and what’s good for society.

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  23. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Who cares if it’s about revenue? I think it’s a great way to get funds. “Tax” the assholes who think they’re entitled to write their own rules on public roads, and reduce tax on my income.

    If some dickhead wants to speed down the highway in his Skyline or Ford Falcon (depending on the age of the dickhead) and pick up speeding tickets, good.

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  24. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    “…speed down the highway in his Skyline or Ford Falcon…”

    Anyone driving a Skyline or a Falcon deserves to get whatever comes their way…. :)

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  25. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Another day…

    …another raft of elaborate arguments about how it’s the police who are really at fault when they catch me speeding. :-P

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  26. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Scott Chris

    The two questions I posed are related. After two or three decades of anti-drink driving campaigning, it now appears that drunk driving is regarded as socially unacceptable.

    Perhaps some focus on the consequences of slow and inconsiderate driving is in order. Perhaps HM’s tax collectors could do more to enforce the requirement to keep left and perhaps also there is a somewhat less complicated solution in legislating an obligation to not hold up traffic. Enforcement is an issue, I concede, but the current regime does nothing to promote the notion that we should be aware of other road users and those who prefer to dwardle along at a speed enabling them to count the flies on cows’ bottoms should make some effort to get out of the way. See labrator’s comments above.

    I don’t believe it is about revenue either; I think it is all about statistics and the use of those statistics in a way that purports to evidence achievement of road policing goals, but without any consideration of the negative impact of the dwardlers. One can’t help but be a bit cynical when seeing police parked up dangerously on the roadside within a couple of feet of the road, on corners or in the dark with parking lights on, trying to meet their quota. Contrast that behaviour with their response to someone chugging along at their 80k with traffic backed up for Africa. If Police were genuinely interested in being proactive, it would take little effort to politely invite the “offenders” to pull over. They are proactive in pubs and at footy matches; why not on the roads?

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  27. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Also, IMO the speed signs are underused. Very useful reminder of speed for those that weren’t in the army like hmmokeydokey. Good tool for transitioning between speed zones. We should have more of them.

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  28. Longknives (4,744 comments) says:

    I got a speed camera ticket recently- Paid it, moved on with life. Didn’t write a big bitchy letter to the Herald moaning about “revenue gathering” or “I’ve got 30 years driving experience so I can handle a car at speed”. I simply paid the damn thing and moved on. The way I see it- If we didn’t police speed then there would be more high speed accidents. More accidents meaning someone in my family is more likely to get killed by some dickhead boy racer who has crossed the centre line at 160kph. It isn’t rocket science…

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  29. OTGO (549 comments) says:

    Yep I’m with Longknives on this. I treat speeding tickets as just another tax. Call it a “speed tax” if you like. It’s just an unfortunate consequence of the speed limit being too low on our roads.

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  30. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    I have to agree with Davincimode. Where are the big signs and TV ads telling people not to be slow and inconsiderate? We get told not to speed, not to drink drive, not to drive while tired, that we have to wear a seat belt, etc etc.

    Nothing about how you should let people pass if you are driving slowly or pull over if there are other cars accumulating behind you. It’s a message people need to get, because it pisses me off having to pull a high-speed dangerous stunt to get past some knobhead who wants to go 80kmph then speed up when there is a flat stretch of road.

    Having moved from the North Island to the South Island, one thing I noticed is that there are far less passing lanes down here, and far more campervans.

    Slow drivers are a very real and dangerous problem on our roads.

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  31. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    …another raft of elaborate arguments about how it’s the police who are really at fault when they catch me speeding.

    Another day wondering why, when we’ve never, ever seen anyone stopped for tailgating, crazy overtaking, or holding up a queue of 20 vehicles, even when police cars are present, we’ve just been fined for doing 104 on a clear day with low traffic on a straight piece of grade-separated dual carriageway.

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  32. tvb (4,421 comments) says:

    I bet there is a budget estimate for speed camera revenue. This policy of secret cameras is about getting in the money. Why else have them placed in secret locations. I have most of my problems in poorly signposted 50-100km zone speed restrictions. I even think the shoulder strip should be colour coded where the speed is less than 100 but more than 50. And there should only be 50, 70 and 100. And it should not go up to 60, down to 50 then up to 70, then down to 60. Believe me there are roads that have this degree of confusion. Cobham Drive in Hamilton is one.

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  33. aitkenmike (94 comments) says:

    The AA position seems sensible to me. Signpost camera areas that are fixed due to known blackspots to get people to specifically slow down in those areas, and keep the ‘anywhere, anytime’ option open aswell.

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  34. Steve (4,561 comments) says:

    Unfortunately there are the control freaks out there who cause problems. The ones that stick to 98kph on the open road, then slow down to 70 when facing oncoming traffic, then speed up to 98 kph again. But if you hang back before a corner then slingshot them when the road is clear, the bastards start tooting and flashing headlights (illegal ok)
    Get out of my fucking road

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  35. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    Oh FFS. Anybody with half a brain knows that speeding is not the cause of fatal accidents. Fatal accidents are caused by stupid decisions and/or lack of due care. Speed cameras will never do anything useful to lower the road toll…. they are nothing but a revenue gathering exercise by a lazy government department which lacks the will to properly police the highways.

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  36. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Anybody with half a brain knows that speeding is not the cause of fatal accidents.

    Anyone with a whole brain, and who has done 3rd form physics, knows that E is proportional to m times v².

    Stupid decisions will happen all the time. With increased speed, you have less time to react. (Speed = distance/time). So if we assume that stupid decisions do not decrease with high speed, and you’re 30 metres from an obstacle, you’ve more likely to hit it when travelling at high speed.

    Also, when you hit, that “E” in the first equation has to go somewhere. Fortunately most of it goes into totalling your car, but a proportion will go through your neck. It might even potentially go through your brain. And going 1.2x as fast is going to have 1.44x as much energy.

    Now as a believer of personal freedoms, if you want to buy/hire a section of road for yourself to speed on, go ahead. It’s a bit annoying that we’re all paying into ACC for your increased risk, but that’s life. But I don’t want people who don’t seem to understand fundamental forces, travelling on roads that we all pay for, making mistakes and killing me or my family, just because they happen to disagree with the speed limit.

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