Motorway site nabs the lion’s share

A fixed safe speed camera on the Southern Motorway in Burnside, Dunedin. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

More than 3000 tickets were issued from three new fixed speed cameras in Dunedin last month.

And more than half of the infringements were from one site, on the Southern Motorway.

Police issued 3066 speeding fines from the three cameras, an Official Information Act request revealed.

The cameras are on the Southern Motorway, at Burnside, in Maclaggan St, in central Dunedin and King Edward St, in Kensington.

The motorway camera caught 1585 speeding motorists last month.

The cameras are part of a police static camera expansion programme to install 48 fixed cameras in high-risk sites across New Zealand.

National road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally, in Wellington, told The Star he had no available information on the days the three Dunedin cameras were first used to fine speeding motorists, but he confirmed it was sometime last month.

To put the number of tickets the new camera in Burnside produced last month into perspective, an OIA request revealed a decommissioned fixed speed camera on the other side of the motorway at Burnside issued 6065 tickets between 2004 and 2016.

When Supt Greally was asked if a reason the new camera in Burnside was catching more people than the decommissioned camera had was that it was on a downhill section of road, similar to the new Maclaggan St site, his response was to warn motorists travelling downhill to maintain a safe speed.

“People need to be paying attention to what they are doing and make sure they are not exceeding the speed limit.”

A new camera usually had a “spike” in the number of speeding tickets it issued after going live, he said.

The spike was due to motorists being unaware a camera was there, he said.

However, after the motorists were ticketed, they “moderated their behaviour” and drove more slowly past the cameras, resulting in fewer tickets being issued “over time”.

Police wanted motorists to know the camera locations and publicised the sites in the media and during community consultation, he said.

A pamphlet about the cameras was distributed to “many, many houses” near the three sites, he said.

Also, for three weeks before the cameras began ticketing motorists last month, they photographed speeding motorists and a warning letter, rather than an infringement, was sent.

However, if a motorist was caught doing “excessive” speeds in the three-week period, then they were ticketed, he said.

A request for information on the fastest speeds recorded by the three new cameras in Dunedin was declined by Supt Greally, because it could “trivialise or sensationalise high speeds and potentially create an environment where people may attempt to exceed the highest record speed”.

Police would continue to use the cameras until every motorist travelled at a safe speed, he said.

Speed impacted on the outcome of a crash, he said.

“The faster the speed, the greater the mess – so we’ll keep doing what we are doing.”