Fall in in drivers caught by mobile cameras

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Range of tools . . . Senior Sergeant Jared Kirk, team leader of the Otago Coastal road policing team, is using a range of tools including mobile speed cameras to keep motorists in his district safe. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Fewer motorists are being snapped by mobile speed cameras in the Otago Coastal area because of a shuffle of police resources.

But a Dunedin officer is warning speeding motorists the enforcement device is only one of many tools police use to reduce road harm.

Police driver offence data shows the number of motorists snapped by a mobile speed camera in Coastal Otago fell nearly 70% between 2014 and 2018.

Consequently, fines from mobile speed cameras plummeted from nearly $1.6million in 2014 to about $620,000 in 2018.

Otago Coastal spans the area from the Waitaki Bridge down to Clinton and inland to Omarama.

Senior Sergeant Jared Kirk, team leader of the Otago Coastal road policing team, said the drop was because of a realignment of resources in Otago in 2015 and 2016.

At the end of 2015, a traffic camera operator in the Otago Coastal area retired, reducing the number of full-time operators in the area from three to two.

operator was employed for the first time in the Otago Lakes region at the same time because of its increasing popularity as a place to live or visit.

Nearly 5800 speeding motorists were snapped by mobile speed cameras in the Otago Lakes region last year, nearly four times more than in 2014.

Another reason for the number of recorded offences being low in the Otago Coastal area last year was that a camera van was off the road “for quite some time” because of a mechanical issue.

Also, one of the traffic camera operators retired, leaving a lone operator working until the vacant second position was filled late last year.

Mobile speed camera sites in the Southern region were being reviewed, Snr Sgt Kirk said.

New sites would be where speeding motorists were known to pose a risk to public safety.

“Mobile speed cameras link directly into road safety and keeping us safe. They are one tool we use to target the greatest determining factor in road harm and that is speed.”

Other tools included fixed speed cameras and police on patrols.

“If every motorist stuck to the speed limit then no-one would need to worry about speed cameras, but unfortunately, not everyone does.”