One of the increasing features of road safety in recent years has been the introduction of the reduced tolerance for speeding down to 4km/h. It started a few years ago on long holiday weekends and is currently being trialled over December and January. Positively the Herald reports that the public seem to be supportive of the measure because at the end of the day it is about improving safety.
A summer crackdown on speeding which will lead to fines for drivers travelling more than 4km/h above the legal limit is strongly supported by the public, a Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.
Police have previously lowered the speed tolerance from 10km/h to 4km/h at long weekends and public holidays, but the lower threshold has been in force for all of December and runs until the end of January.
If the 62-day trial is successful, it could mark the end of the 10km/h speed tolerance.
The poll showed that two-thirds of respondents felt that the policy was fair because it was about safety. Just 29 per cent said that it was unfair and was about raising revenue.
Police Minister Anne Tolley said the high level of support for the lower speed tolerance was encouraging, and showed that New Zealanders were taking the message to slow down seriously.
“This is a special time of year when New Zealanders should be enjoying time with their families and friends and I don’t want anyone to have to suffer the trauma of being told that a loved one has been killed on our roads,” she said.
One of the reasons the public are likely much more acceptable of the measure than they would have been in the past is that we simply aren’t driving as fast as we used to.
Ministry of Transport data showed that the proportion of New Zealanders speeding on the open road had reduced since records began 17 years ago. In 1996, the mean car speed was 102km/h and 56 per cent of drivers travelled more than 100km/h. In 2012, the mean speed was 95.6km/h and just 25 per cent of drivers exceeded the 100km/h limit.
The change in drivers who drive over the speed limit is quite substantial. On the Ministry’s website they have the data (although only back to 2000) including the speeds on urban roads have also been coming down – although still over 50% of drivers are traveling above 50km/h. This surely has to be one of the big factors in the reducing road toll. It would be really interesting to see what would happen if we reduced the urban speed limit to 40km/h (or even 30km/h) like is happening in many places overseas.
They also have data for the speeds on roads in each region and while Aucklanders are now some of the slowest drivers on open roads, we are some of the fastest on urban roads despite the averages having come down. The graph below shows how Auckland compares to the figures above.
You can see the results for all regions in the tables below.