Automobile Association calling for speed camera warning signs around New Zealand

  • 27/03/2024

The Automobile Association (AA) wants warning signs installed at every permanent speed camera in New Zealand, saying it'll encourage drivers to slow down and improve safety on our roads.

New Zealand will soon have its first permanent speed camera with warning signage go live, but it's raised questions with AA about why it's the only one.

In November 2019, the previous Government revealed a raft of plans to improve road safety throughout New Zealand, including a warning sign before all speed cameras. 

However, it's four years later and there remains next to no permanent cameras with signage out of the nearly 60 across the country.

AA road safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen told AM on Wednesday that overseas countries with the best road safety records in the world have warning signs.

"When we look at other countries like Australia, like Sweden, like the UK – it's the approach that they operate there all of which have better road safety records than New Zealand so doing this change would just bring us in line with what most countries around the world do."

He added that AA was calling for warnings at permanent cameras only – meaning mobile cameras and police officers would still be able to catch speeding motorists.

"At these permanent camera sites they are high-risk locations, they'd have a history of speed or crashes, and when we put signage in place it's actually a prevention first approach," Thomsen said.

"It gives people, if their speed has crept up, the chance to check their speed, slow down if they need to and we think that there's good evidence that shows it'll actually be good for safety at those locations to do that."

Last year, there were 341 deaths on New Zealand roads. So far this year, there's been 69.

Of ten new permanent cameras added to roads in Auckland and Northland late last year, only the one on SH1 in Kawakawa will have signage. 

The camera locations are at Ostrich Rd, Franklin, Mill Rd, Pukekohe East, Waitākere Rd, Taupaki, Waiuku Rd , Waiuku, Glenbrook-Waiuku Rd, Waiuku, Dairy Flat Highway, Dairy Flat, Papakura-Cleavedon Rd, Ardmore, Linwood Rd, Karaka, McKenzie Rd Kingseat, and SH1 Northland Kawakawa.

Currently, the Kawakawa camera remains in trial mode but is due to go live shortly.

Thomsen said it was a good example of signage working because following the installation of two 'Reduce Speed Now' signs at the location in 2018, speeding infringements more than halved from 47,000 tickets to less than 23,000.

"So basically the number of tickets, the number of people exceeding the speed limit, halved after those signs and we think if we had consistent camera signage around the country it'll actually have an even bigger effect because yes people are motivated by their pocket," he said.

But AM host Lloyd Burr questioned Thomsen about if people who are breaking the law speeding should be punished for it.

Thomsen said: "I think lots of times when we talk about this people can kind of just think of speeders as being people who know what the speed limit is and are deliberately breaking it and just don't care, they deserve consequences of that.

"But there's also a lot of people who genuinely can just have lost a bit of focus, let their speed creep up a little bit or in some cases now, especially as we've seen speed limits change, they might not be sure what the speed limit is so I think for those people – and it's a substantial portion – a sign giving them a chance to check their speed, slow down and actually be travelling at the speed is actually a better result than sending them a ticket a few weeks down the track."

AA said in a statement that the installation of specific speed camera warning signage could be done relatively quickly and cheaply.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown told Newshub his expectation is that NZTA will roll out signage ahead of fixed speed cameras and that this work will be undertaken as police transfer control and operations of speed cameras to NZTA.