The first of 56 new fixed speed cameras featuring the latest generation technology has today gone live in Wellington's Ngauranga Gorge.
Police last month announced the first 12 sites where the cameras will be placed, with six in Wellington and six in Auckland. These will be rolled out over the coming months, with all cameras to be in place across the country in sites assessed as having a high risk of speed-related crashes by the end of next year.
Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Dave Cliff, says the new "second generation" camera at Ngauranga has undergone an extensive calibration and testing process over the past month to ensure its accuracy and reliability in a range of traffic conditions.
"Switching on the first of the new cameras is an important milestone in our efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on the country's roads, as part of the wider Safer Journey's strategy which focuses on creating safer roads and roadsides, safer drivers and promoting safer vehicles," Mr Cliff says.
"Between 2010 and 2012, driver speed contributed to approximately three out of 10 of all fatal crashes and two out of every 10 serious injury crashes. In human terms, that translates to 299 people killed in speed-related crashes over that three year period, and a staggering 6,300 people who suffered some kind of injury, ranging from minor to very serious.
"That's why Police and our road safety partners remain committed to doing all we can to bring speeds down, as what we know from the research both here and overseas is that speed cameras do encourage motorists to slow down, thereby reducing the risk of people being injured or killed in a crash."
Police first announced plans last July to modernise and expand its fixed (or static) speed camera network. The current fixed camera network is almost 20 years old and uses outdated wet film technology.
The first 12 sites are a mix of existing and new locations. The next site due to have a new camera installed will be in Wellington's Wainuiomata Road in September.
Mr Cliff says Police will publish the locations for the remaining cameras as soon as they are confirmed and the appropriate engineering assessments and any required discussion with communities has been carried out.
"The cameras are all being placed in locations assessed as having a high risk for speed related crashes, including those where people have died or been injured in crashes involving speed. The assessment process uses expert independent analysis based on a decade of crash data, and in-depth knowledge from police and other local traffic experts. We have also taken on board the views of people we have visited in communities who are directly affected."
Mr Cliff says about 140 sites in total around the country have been identified as having a high risk of speed related crashes, providing a framework for road safety agencies, councils and communities to target their enforcement and education efforts in known problem areas.
Funding for the speed camera upgrade project is being provided by the New Zealand Transport Agency through its Road Policing Programme, with Police and the agency to share ongoing operating costs. All money collected from speeding infringements goes to the Government, not Police.
For more information on the Ngauranga Gorge camera, please see the Police website.