Did lower speed tolerance work?

Police announced last week that they would allow only a 4 kilometre an hour tolerance above speed limits on all holiday weekends:

“We believe that lowering the tolerance has made a real difference to the number of deaths on the roads over the holiday periods”, said Superintendent Paula Rose, National Manager Road Policing today.

The lowered tolerance was introduced last Queen’s Birthday after a disastrous Easter when 12 people died on the roads. That Queen’s Birthday weekend saw a huge turnaround with only two deaths and a more than 30 percent reduction in crashes.

Since that weekend, during each holiday period Police have introduced the lowered tolerance and have seen a consistently lowered holiday road toll.

“We think that it is making a difference and that as most drivers have now become used to the idea, it seems obvious to introduce it permanently. The lowered tolerance does have the unexpected benefit of making drivers concentrate and focus on their driving and their speed. This has spin-off benefits in making their driving safer,” said Superintendent Rose.

This weekend had pretty good weather and that would also have played a part in reducing the accident rate but the  superintendent’s last point is the pertinent one.

If lowering the tolerance in itself was such an important factor it would be lowered all the time and not just at holiday weekends.

Speed does contribute to accidents but it is not the only contributing factor. The lower tolerance at holiday weekends doesn’t just perusade drivers to reduce speed, it increases their concentration and that makes driving safer.

So does looking out for police because it keeps drivers’ attention on the road.

Although in spite of the warning that more police would be patrolling roads this weekend we drove from home to Wanaka on Friday, Wanaka to Arrowtown and back to Wanaka on Sunday and saw only one marked car.

But coming home yesterday we passed three in less than a kilometre – two in Otematata, a very small township in the Waitaki Valley, and one about 100 metres past it.

5 Responses to Did lower speed tolerance work?

  1. Raymond A Francis says:

    The police were thick on the road between here and Invercargill on Friday and Sunday, 10+ and there was plenty of fog both days, so conditions were less than good.
    Most dangerous driver was the slow moving woman who drifted onto the wrong side of the road not far from your front door (Bryden Memorial straight)


  2. alex Masterley says:

    Saw 5 (mostly the return journey)on a trip between Auckland and New Plymouth.
    The fact we travelled at odd hours in rubbish weather, staurday afternoon and yesterday morning meant the traffic was lighter.
    Generally set the cruise controll at 103 and drove.
    Very pleasant.


  3. Paranormal says:

    Bollocks and double bollocks.

    Forcing drivers to concentrate on the speedo inside the car reduces their concentration on what’s happening outside. It’s really that simple. We had some really serious accidents over the weekend and the fact there were no deaths says more about improved vehicles on our roads and improved emergency medicine – getting injured people in to A&E within the crucial golden hour.

    Also shows we’re concentrating on the wrong metric. If we were measuring the number of serious accidents rather than deaths the police would have to hang their heads in shame as they are just not ‘winning’.

    Police myopic focus on Speed ignores the real problem with New Zealands drivers. We do not teach our young to drive and handle vehicles properly. As soon as there is some bad weather the accident rate goes up.

    Interestingly, those boy racers that survive will generally be the better drivers in the future as they know how to handle their cars in an incident as they have regularly experienced it.

    As soon as the police and LTNZ get their heads out of their collective ….. and start to teach our young drivers what they need to know the better.

    By the way, Andy Knackstead will be the first against the wall when I’m running the country. At this rate Superintendant Rose will be the next after the Knackstead knave.



  4. homepaddock says:

    Paranormal – I agree deaths are only part of the equation.

    It would be very itneresting to know trends for injury stats.

    Bad driving is part of the problem, lack of median barriers is too.


  5. Paranormal says:

    I work in the insurance industry.

    What you may find interesting is that following the 87 stockmarket crash,motor vehicle claims decreased significantly from the record high in 87.


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