Speeding truckies can now be caught by upgraded cameras - police

9:57 am on 16 October 2019

Police say the days of a free pass for speeding trucks in front of static speed cameras are numbered - but truckies haven't noticed the difference.

A truck with a red cab picks up speed.

The rates of of trucks being fined for speeding increased last year but overall they remain extremely low. File photo Photo: 123RF

Up until recently, the national safety camera network couldn't tell the difference between types of vehicles.

That meant truck drivers could sometimes travel at up to 19km/h over the stated 90km/h speed limit without being snapped and fined.

While police said a software upgrade meant cameras can now tell if it is a truck going past, truck drivers haven't noticed the difference, saying they're able to flout speed limits without repercussions.

Between 2014 and 2017, speeding fines issued from static cameras totalled 574,438 but just 207 of those were to heavy vehicles exceeding 90km/h.

In 2018 police increased the size of the camera network to 48 cameras nationwide and there was a major software upgrade around that time.

That year 611,712 speeding fines were issued by static cameras, 433 of which were to heavy vehicles going faster than 90km/h.

While the rates of trucks being fined effectively doubled, they remained extremely low.

Senior sergeant Paul Simcox said new technology meant heavy vehicles were being snapped, but there was still a need for some human input.

"Police's static safe speed cameras do capture heavy motor vehicles," he said.

"All our cameras use software which measures the size (height, width, and length) of the vehicle as it passes them and then it applies the appropriate speed limit consideration to the vehicle.

"The images are then processed by the Police Infringement Bureau, who also consider that the HMV classification criteria is for any vehicle weighing more than 3.5 tonnes."

In July, when RNZ first requested the number of fines issued to heavy vehicles, national road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said the cameras could not tell the difference between vehicle types.

An Official Information Act request received last month showed of the 1.18 million speeding fines issued by static cameras between 2014 and 2018, just 36 heavy vehicles had been snapped exceeding 90km/h.

Mr Simcox apologised for what he said was an error in the data provided to RNZ, and said Mr Greally's July comments were also incorrect.

"As a result of your correspondence Police has reviewed the data provided in your OIA response which shows information for one specific HMV infringement code," Mr Simcox said.

"In reviewing this data we found there was an error in data extrapolation from the system for the static cameras."

Mr Simcox said another reason for an increase in the number of fines is that there were now 18 speed cameras in 100km/h zones, up from four prior to 2018.

The OIA data also showed the number of fines issued by officers and mobile speed cameras.

In 2018, when 1.19m total fines were issued, officers issued 228,184 fines, 2065 of which were to trucks over 90km/h, while mobile cameras issued 351,590 fines of which 1934 were to heavy vehicles exceeding 90km/h.

Trucks exceeding 90km/h made up 0.3 percent of total fines given out by police.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett said the vast majority of truck operators wanted to comply with the law.

"It seems to be a lack of technology in the sense cameras are not picking up trucks," he told Morning Report.

"Truck drivers' livelihoods depend on them complying with the law."

Mr Leggett said modern trucks had GPS systems that monitored speeds and a number of new trucks were speed limited to 90km/h.

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