Back in November we wrote an article explaining why the new zero-tolerance for speed campaign was an idiotic move by the police, and now the statistics back up our claims.

Unfortunately there were 17 road deaths over the 2014/2015 holiday period which runs from 4pm on Christmas eve to 6am on the 5th of January; more than double the 7 road deaths over the 2013/2014 period and the 6 road deaths over the 2012/2013 period.

The question we have for the police is how did enforcing zero-tolerance for speeding reduce the number of dangerous drivers causing casualties on our roads? The answer is it clearly didn’t. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering it isn’t those who are doing one or two kilometres over the speed limit that are the dangerous drivers needing to be targeted.

As expected, people have complained that the campaign actually made driving more dangerous since drivers were forced to pay more attention to the speedometer in fear of a fine, rather than focusing on the hazards on the road. Those who were overly cautious of the campaign reportedly created more dangers on the road as frustration set in for holiday-goers wanting to stick to the open road speed.

In terms of public relations and proactively looking for ways to reduce the number of deaths on our roads, the police have dropped the ball with this latest summer campaign. Fining drivers for doing 101km/h not only has impacted the public opinion that police aren’t using their resources effectively to reduce accidents and deaths on New Zealand roads, it also raises questions surrounding the ethics of police revenue generation.

Last year an extra $5 million in revenue was generated from a lower speed leniency, up from the $1 million in total generated the previous year. It is far easier for police to enforce a zero-tolerance campaign when there is serious revenue to be generated, rather than looking to reduce the number of dangerous drivers on the roads by increasing the amount of costly police resources set specifically to target them. Having also introduced a lower drink-driving limit at the same time as the zero-tolerance campaign will ensure that the police coffers receive a heavy contribution over the summer period. 

NZ First police spokesman Ron Mark said the toll was evidence the zero-tolerance speed campaign was a “failed experiment” and accused the police and the Government of “stealth taxation” via speeding fines.

“It has precious police resources sucked up making good drivers feel like criminals instead of focusing on those driving too fast, too slowly or too badly,” he said.

Now that statistics have proved the police summer campaign failed, we expect to see the police acknowledge the mistakes made this year and use more logical campaign tactics based on safety, not revenue generation, next holiday period.


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8 Responses

  1. Dean

    Im not a fan of the zero tolerance approach. Part of the issue is NZ Police allowing motorists a 10km/h tolerance for so long that it has become accepted as the norm. Part of it is the low level of general driving skill here. An example – Drivers doing 90km/h on the open road may be trying to ‘do the right thing’, but in the process become the catalyst for the dangerous overtaking we all see, which is a common cause of serious injury & fatal crashes. I also don’t buy the argument that poor roads cause crashes. Drivers do. But doing 10km/h over the limit only becomes a problem when drivers do it anywhere & everywhere & don’t adjust thier speed depending on road conditions / weather / traffic volumes. Look at the reports. A large proportion of serious accidents in NZ are caused by seriously drunk drivers / very excessive speeding /unlicensed or inexperienced young drivers / & like general crime – recidivist offenders. Often a combination of all of the above ! Not the masses quite safely doing 110km/h when its safe to do so. I wouldn’t show up in court to discuss why I haven’t paid my fine for doing 101 km/h. Sorry NZ Police – its a bit farcical.

  2. carollyn

    what I have noticed since the zero tolerance was introduced there are many drivers doing 40 km in 50 km areas this is hugely frustrating. I have found myself passing people in urban areas And would not usually do so.
    Changing my driving behaviour for the worse.
    Guess this may be a factor in the increased death rate.

  3. Kevin

    So basically the NZ police got people killed? What is going to happen about that? They can’t just put it down to a mistake. They made people freak out when ever they saw a cop, made people drive slower because they didn’t want to go the speed limit on open roads just in case their speedo was wrong which led to people dangerously overtaking because they got frustrated. These things should have been taken into account before the law was passed. Who is responsible for the extra deaths?

    • Jason

      Yea it seems the campaign failed and thoughts go out to all families that lost someone but like the traditional kiwi way lets blame someone else but I don’t think its just the police to blame, why not all the car manufacture for making car the exceed the speed limit, why don’t they limit their speed of their cars to 100k/h instead of making them faster and more powerful, why not blame them. All the drivers on the road (Past an present) for showing the younger generation or other drivers its ok to speed or all the movies and games out there showing its cool to speed. Just because the police are trying to help and trying to make a difference because no one else wants to it doesn’t mean they should have all the blame put on them for all the deaths, I mean what have you done to help the road toll come down??? think of the bigger picture and look at yourselves and your own driving behaviour before pointing the finger, no ones driving is perfect, everyone has sped or over taken when they shouldn’t have, lost control or even had an accident, just some are luckier then others. I know I have sped, lost control, and crashed but through failure comes a lesson learn and hopefully the police have learnt and will be able to proceed with a strategy to help all motorist on the road and make it a better place.

    • Simon

      No law has been passed. Police discretion is all that is used in this case. Most European countries will allow speeding traffic if the flow is all going at the same speed. That should happen here! Drunks and people that choose the wrong speed for their ability and lack of attention are the real culprits. How about people just stop doing everything but driving while they’re driving!

    • rob

      People are responsible for their own driving behavior. If seeing a cop makes you “freak out” and crash you simply shouldn’t be on the road. Wake the fuck up and stop trying to blame other people rather than taking collective responsibility. No revenue would be generated if people weren’t breaking the law. It’s a speed limit, not a speed minimum or a goal, it’s the absolute maximum allowed speed. Police don’t even see that money. So be patience, go the speed limit and drive safely with respect for the other drivers around you.

  4. niki

    It is absolutely no surprise this revenue generating experiment failed in the highest way, life itself.


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