11 Dec 2022

Modern speed cameras catch more vehicles - police

8:29 am on 11 December 2022
Afternoon rush hour traffic out of central Auckland.

In the first nine months of 2022, the number of speedsters caught by mobile cameras had doubled compared to 2021, but fines on average were lower, up by only a fifth. Photo: 123rf.com

Police have defended a rise in the number of speed camera infringements being issued, saying new mobile cameras are able to identify speeding vehicles more accurately.

RNZ revealed tens of thousands more tickets had been handed out for drivers doing between one and 11km/h over the speed limit.

In January 2021, speed cameras snapped just under 20,000 drivers going just over the limit. In January 2022, that figure was more than 90,000.

Police told RNZ the increase was due to camera activation settings being set in closer proximity to the speed limit. They later added they had recently completed replacing all the old mobile cameras with new models.

They say the newer model performs better in conditions such as rain, fog or at night-time, meaning speed cameras can operate more often.

"Due to the modern functionality, these new cameras are now also able to identify offending vehicles more accurately, which has enabled police to issue infringements in situations where this wasn't possible with the previously used technology," police said.

The January-on-January figures for fines against motorists from mobile and fixed cameras show $600,000 worth of fines were issued in 2021, and $2.7m in fines in January 2022.

Police have been under pressure to increase use of speed cameras after years of undershooting the targets that NZTA funds them to hit. NZTA is taking over the cameras next year.

In the past couple of years, police language has changed around speeding, and police have again reiterated, "the speed limit is the speed limit and you can expect to be stopped for going at any speed over the limit".

Breath testing numbers are also expected to increase as Covid-19 related restrictions eased and in the rolling 12 months to 31 October 2022, 2.2 million tests were completed.

Police said these new measures were about working towards Road to Zero.

"We are working closely with our road safety partners, Waka Kotahi, Ministry of Transport and others to achieve the goal of reducing death and serious injury on the road by 40 percent by 2030.

"If the number of deaths on the roads continues to increase, our enforcement will continue to increase as well."