AA welcomes safer variable speed limits for schools
28 November 2019
Most drivers will be on board with the Government’s plans to reduce speed limits around schools and bring back signs ahead of speed cameras, says the Automobile Association.
AA Principal Advisor – Regulations Mark Stockdale says the AA has long supported flashing variable speed limit signs at all urban schools.
“We support variable lower speed limits at the busiest times when children are present – at the start of school or the end of the school day. Motorists understand the need to slow down when children are present as children can be unpredictable. Lower temporary speeds at those times will help improve the safety of children, and flashing variable signs will help to clearly advertise the lower speed to drivers.”
“The AA surveyed our Members about this a few years ago, and 97% supported the use of flashing variable signs at the times of the day when children are likely to be crossing the road,” Mr Stockdale said.
Ninety-four percent of AA Members also supported a lower variable speed limit around urban schools – with support for either 30km/h or 40km/h.
“For rural schools, a 60km/h limit will be a big speed reduction for drivers travelling at open road speeds, so it is essential that the variable limits are clearly signposted with flashing signs on all approaches to the school. To get good compliance, it will need to be absolutely clear to drivers when a lower speed limit is in force,” Mr Stockdale added.
The AA also wants to see additional engineering treatments on the approach to rural schools and schools on busy arterial roads to make it clear to motorists that they are entering a school zone.
“This change will be rolled out over 10 years so there is time to get it right and have a uniformly consistent approach across the country. The AA looks forward to details on the additional funding that will be needed to help councils install these new signs and undertake other engineering works,” Mr Stockdale said.
Warning signs for all fixed speed cameras
The Government’s commitment that all fixed speed cameras will be clearly sign-posted in a new ‘highly visible, no surprises’ approach is a sensible move that the AA completely supports.
“The AA has been calling for advanced warning signs for many years,” says Mr Stockdale. “Eighty-one per cent of AA members support warning signs ahead of fixed speed cameras.
“The whole point of fixed speed cameras is to get people to slow down in high-risk areas where unsafe speed is a known safety risk. If drivers don’t see the cameras, don’t slow down and get a ticket weeks later, then the risk at those sites isn’t being reduced. Many other countries with good road safety records have warning signs for fixed cameras and the AA wants them in New Zealand too.”
“This announcement is great news and the signs can’t come soon enough. Once signs have been installed, motorists will have no excuse for getting a ticket from a fixed camera, and we expect the number of camera tickets issued to fall, and safety to improve as a result.”
The government has also announced that the operation and administration of the speed camera network will be transferred from the NZ Police to the NZ Transport Agency.
“There is a lot of potential to improve our enforcement by sending warnings or tickets to drivers much quicker, and more use of things like red-light cameras or new mobile phone-detecting cameras,” Mr Stockdale says.
“The AA doesn’t think it matters who is responsible for administering the camera network, provided they are properly resourced and able to take full advantage of the latest technology to improve road safety,” Mr Stockdale said.