POLICE are putting their foot down this month in an attempt to stop drivers doing the same.
Eastern roads will be subject to marked car and covert speed enforcement by all police in the area as part of Operation Thrust, an initiative to show speed will not be tolerated.
And in just the first two hours of the operation last Friday, police issued 30 speed tickets on Te Irirangi Drive’s 50km area, the highest speed measuring 38kms over the limit.
“It’s disappointing,” says senior sergeant Andrew Berry. “If this is an indication of what the rest of the operation will bring…People need to stand up and take notice.”
Mr Berry won’t be drawn on specifics about the exact speeds that will result in tickets, but warns: “Where people would have expected a warning in the past, none will be issued.
“In the past, drivers exceeding the speed limit have experienced generous tolerances by the police.
“Road Policing experts tell us that issuing warnings for speed does not change driver behaviour.”
Police says it’s not about randomly targeting roads.
“We’re going to be deploying where the risk has been identified. We’re talking about schools, high-speed roads, and rural roads. We’re not just looking at residential neighbourhoods, it’ the whole area.”
The eastern blitz is part of a wider Counties Manukau district month-long focus on speed enforcement.
“We’ve just gone one step further to make it an area-wide, all area staff operation,” he says.
Mr Berry sites sobering statistics as good reasons to undertake the operation.
According to ACC and police speed data, speed is a contributing factor in a third of all fatal accidents and about 19 per cent of all accidents.
In Counties Manukau 60 per cent of drivers exceed the 100km/h limit and 81 per cent drive over the 50km/h limit.
“To put it in perspective, each year there’s between 50 and 60 homicides and the community are quite rightly outraged by each of [them],” Mr Berry says. “We kill almost 400 on the road [a third of which are speed-related deaths]”.
“Speed is a significant factor in a large number of fatal accidents. Speed and alcohol combined even more so.
“So the police certainly aren’t going to apologise or take a back step in respect of enforcing speed limits. It’s not anything more or less than trying to prevent serious road trauma, injuries and death.”