FC: New Zealander replies to use of photo radar near Wellington

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Nov 12 2002 - 22:02:45 PST

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    Previous Politech message:
    "Photo radar update: Colorado Supreme Court upholds ruling"
    Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 15:01:10 +1300
    From: Brian Boutel <brianat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: Photo radar update: Colorado Supreme Court upholds ruling
    You published the claims of Richard Diamond, in particular, that
     > 3. New Zealand: A speed camera issues tens of thousands of speeding
     > tickets, yet the accident rate is up 30 percent. 5/11
    I assume that Mr Diamond opposes traffic cameras on principle, and is 
    looking for evidence to damn them. His headline gives an impression of 
    causality, or at least ineffectiveness in reducing accidents.
    I think some revelant facts should be provided to counter this.
    The report quoted is about a single segment of SH1, the main highway 
    connecting Wellington with the North. It is short piece of road only 2.5km 
    long, a steep descent from the hills surrounding Wellington Harbour down to 
    sea-level. It's a particularly nasty stretch, steep and curving, with 
    intersections with local roads, where local and long distance traffic mix 
    because it is the only practicable route, and where the Motorway (limited 
    access) rules which apply to the highway at each end of the Gorge are 
    suspended. While the cameras are there primarily to enforce a reduced speed 
    limit (down from 100km/h to 80), most of the accidents, as the report 
    indicates, are minor, low-speed events. It is a busy commuter route, 
    nose-to-tail in the mornings - typical circumstances for minor rear-enders.
    These accident numbers just cannot be used to represent the effect of the 
    nation-wide speed camera programmme, which has been operating since 1993. 
    In fact, accident numbers are falling in NZ. In the 5 years from 1997 to 
    2001, for example, road deaths fell by 16%.
    Declan McCullagh wrote:
    >Previous Politech message:
    >"Denver judge says yep, photo radar program is bad news"
    >From: "Diamond, Richard" <Richard.Diamondat_private>
    >Subject: Colorado Supreme Court upholds ruling against photo radar
    >Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 14:05:53 -0500
    >Here's a summary of the latest camera news.
    >3. Jim Chipp, Gorge speeding tickets on the increase, The Independent 
    >Herald, 05.11.2002
    >Despite the Ngauranga Gorge fixed speed camera issuing more tickets, the 
    >accident rate in the area is not changing for the better.
    >Due to interruptions, last year the camera only issued 7459 speeding 
    >tickets (20 a day) but it had issued 10,500 (about 38 a day) by October 
    >this year.
    >However, Land Transport Safety Authority accident figures show that 
    >serious accidents involving injury on the gorge have remained steady at 
    >two a year since 1999.
    >And less serious injury accidents and non-injury accidents have slowly 
    >increased over the same period, from a total of 35 in 1999 to 47 in 2001 
    >(a rise of 30 percent).
    >National police infringement bureau head Inspector Matt Fitzsimons says 
    >the fixed camera did not operate for all of 2001, because of technical 
    >difficulties dealing with the new variable speed limits made possible by 
    >the Ngauranga Gorge Automated Traffic Management System.
    >The variable speed limit wasn't gazetted until May last year.
    >"It took quite a while for us to get that issue sorted out," Mr Fitzsimons 
    >The camera's tolerance in the area is now set at 10kph rather than the 85 
    >percentile mark used internationally, in which the camera trigger is set 
    >to catch the fastest 15 percent of drivers.
    >Mr Fitzsimons says he is unable to give the total revenue collected by the 
    >cameras, and neither can anybody else, because the figures are not collected.
    >[Snip --DBM]
    Brian Boutel
    Wellington New Zealand
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