A few weeks before Christmas the cops were warning that anyone exceeding the speed limit this summer could expect to be pulled over, regardless of whether there was a 4kmh speed tolerance.
According to this report at Stuff at the time, the warning came as police moved towards zero tolerance of speeding after a successful campaign last summer when fatalities dropped 22 per cent.
“Anything over the limit is speeding and anyone speeding can expect to be pulled over,” police assistant commissioner, road policing, Dave Cliff said
The reasoning looked sound enough and the revenue stream is to be welcomed by your fiscally responsible government:
Police operated a 4kmh tolerance last summer – from December 1 to January 31 – but still issued more than 200,000 tickets for people speeding between 1kmh and 10kmh over the limit.
That was more than five times the same period the previous year when there was no reduced tolerance, a police report into the Safer Summer campaign showed.
The tickets totalled more than $6 million in fines, an increase of about $5m from the previous years.
But the reduced tolerance also helped prevent crashes, with 201 fewer minor-injury crashes, 21 fewer serious-injury crashes, and 11 fewer fatal crashes.
And so Cliff reckoned it was time to crack down harder and shift the focus from thinking about a speed tolerance and towards driving to the conditions and the speed limit.
“People often set their cruise control to the tolerance when it should be at the speed limit,” he said.
But look what happened.
The cops got tougher – and when the Christmas Holiday period ended at 6am today, 17 people had died on our roads in the 2014-2015 summer holidays.
This compared with just seven last year.
Cliff is sticking to his radar guns and his speed cameras.
He told Radio NZ international research from bodies such as the World Health Organisation showed lowering speed was critical.
Alf is not convinced.
If this be so, he reasons, why stop at 100kmh on the open road?
Why not bring it down to 5kmh?
Even better, why not resurrect the requirement that a bloke walk in front of each car with a warning flag?
Difficult though it is to say so, Alf has some sympathy with the views of New Zealand First MP Ron Mark, who said the police approach of clamping down on those even one kilometre an hour over the speed limit was ridiculous and ineffective.
“One of the great ironies here is that it wasn’t so long ago, the police were telling us, along with the New Zealand Transport Agency, they were looking at raising the speed limits.
“Yesterday the road was safe to drive on at 110 kilometres per hour, and now suddenly, before the holiday period, they weren’t safe to drive on at 104 kilometres per hour.
“There’s a total inconsistency in the logic that’s being applied there” he said
Ron reckons the focus needs to be on those who are driving poorly, such as young, inexperienced drivers, and tourists who struggled driving on New Zealand roads.
Alf would throw in truck drivers and tossers on bikes.
And he would get rid of all those things that are apt to bring a car to a sudden halt, such as lamp-posts and trees.