The NZ Transport Agency and NZ Police are advising motorists that safety cameras inside the Waterview Connection tunnels will be activated from Friday August 3 in order to encourage safer speeds inside the motorway tunnels.
Safety cameras have been operating in enforcement mode at the entrances and exits of the twin tunnels since they were opened in July 2017. The safety cameras inside the tunnels have also been monitoring travel speeds since July 2017, and will now be used to enforce the 80km/h speed limit inside the tunnels themselves, while the cameras at the tunnel entrances and exits will be switched off.
NZ Transport Agency Director of Safety and Environment Harry Wilson says monitoring by the safety cameras inside the tunnels shows while most people are driving safely and within the 80km/h limit, some drivers are putting themselves and others at risk by driving at unsafe speeds, in some cases well over the limit.
“The tunnels are an enclosed space and the consequences of a high speed crash inside one of the tunnels are potentially catastrophic. That is the reason for the 80km/h speed limit inside the tunnels. We encourage everyone to drive safely, stay in their lane and keep to the speed limit inside the tunnels. We’ll be using our Variable Message Signs on the motorway to alert drivers that safety cameras inside the tunnels are now operating, in order to encourage people to drive at a safe speed through the tunnels and avoid a ticket.”
While variable speed limits on some sections of State Highways 16 and 20 around the tunnels have been increased to allow maximum speeds of 100km/h in certain driving conditions, the speed limits on the approaches to the twin tunnels and inside the tunnels will remain at 80km/h in order to manage the higher risks associated with an enclosed tunnel environment.
Infringement notices for speeding offences which are recorded by the cameras will be issued by NZ Police.
“We know one of the main behaviours that contributes to death and serious injury on our roads is going too fast for the conditions,” says Superintendent Steve Greally, National Manager for Road Policing.
“Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it is the single biggest determinant in whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed. A small change in speed makes a huge difference to the outcome of a crash – whether you get to walk away, or you’re carried away.
“This is why Police focuses on speed enforcement, including the use of safe speed cameras. We are trying to save lives. We’d much rather you slow down than you get a ticket.
“The myth that it’s a revenue gathering exercise is nonsense; all money from speed infringements goes to the Crown Consolidated Fund, not to Police.
“As Police, we see the awful harm caused to people and their families in a crash, that is why we care about getting people to slow down. Less speed simply means less harm.”
For more information: www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/driving-safely/speed/(external link)