The Weekend Herald reported in January that police collect about $50 million each year in speeding fines.
More than 500,000 speeding tickets were issued in the first nine months of
last year, most generated by police officers or by speed cameras in the
back of mobile vans.
This is more than 1 for every 6 drivers, every year. Most governments would take this as a sign that something is horribly wrong with the policy. Just to save them the time, I can explain that ticketing drivers for driving at 61 km/h in cities and towns when the de facto speed limit is 60 km/h is the problem. The LTSA is trying to enforce its 50 km/h limit which is often too slow for the conditions particularly on arterial roads where speed checking is undertaken. Most people naturally drive to the conditions and are upset when they are pinged for it.
I know that this is the current policy because I have received two speeding tickets in the last 8 years, both at 61 km/h. Working out the average this is roughly my quota. Most people have received a speeding fine. My 65 year-old mother received one last year.
Police are targeting good drivers who are likely to pay up, and $50m is not to be sniffed at. It pays our entire social welfare budget for almost a day.
For many people this is the only contact they will have with the police, and it is negative. I mention that in case the police are worried that they have an image problem, and want to improve it. Dumping their contract with the anti-car LTSA would be start.
The policy is also one reason for increasing traffic congestion, particularly in Christchurch, where increasing numbers of drivers choose to tootle around at 45km/h (in the middle of the road), just to be safe.
It is time for a review.