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Busy snapper . . . South Canterbury's only fixed speed camera has been kept busy snapping excessive speedsters resulting in $1.58m in fines being issued. PHOTO:CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Speeding drivers in South Canterbury are boosting the government’s coffers by millions of dollars each year – the region’s sole fixed camera alone nabbing thousands of offenders, resulting in $1.58million in fines being issued.

Statistics released to The Courier under an Official Information Act request show police issued 9363 speeding notices in the region in the 12 months to February 28, and 23,593 speeding vehicles were snapped by cameras in the same period.

This total of 32,956 offences boosted the national coffers by $3.18million.

Mid-South Canterbury police area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said the average speed in urban areas and on open roads around the region had gradually dropped.

“But there are still far too big infringement volumes, both on the cameras and by officers throughout our whole area.

There are still too many dying on our roads. – Inspector Dave Gaskin

“There are still too many dying on our roads.”

Speed appeared to be a factor in a crash near Oamaru last Wednesday, when a car struck a wall, killing two and critically injuring a third.

South Canterbury’s sole fixed camera – at the corner of State Highway 1 and Huirapa St, Arowhenua – caught the largest number of speeding offenders by a wide margin with a total of 17,072.

This was for roughly an 11-month period as the camera only became operational in May.

Insp Gaskin said the camera was run by police headquarters and had proven effective. Even some of his staff had been caught out and had paid fines.

Fast facts

In the year to February 28, in South Canterbury:

Speed offences issued by officers: 9363 ($1.169m in fines)

Speed offences detected/issued by speed cameras: 23,593 ($2.014m in fines)

Arowhenua fixed camera offences: 17,072 (about 11 months, $1.585m in fines)

Other camera locations (mobile) ranked by offences detected:

SH79 Geraldine (1613)

SH1 Temuka (723)

SH1 Winchester (714)

SH8 Fairlie (589)

National manager of road policing Superintendent Steve Greally said the total nominal fees associated with the Arowhenua camera site amounted to $1.58million.

“Police has no record of the total monetary amount gathered from offence notices as this money is paid directly to the government’s consolidated fund.

The next-busiest camera in the region, a mobile camera, is used along State Highway 79, in Geraldine. It recorded 1613 offences in the 12 months to March 31.

Insp Gaskin said traffic volumes had risen on SH8 and SH79 and police were looking at doing a count to measure this increase.

“We deploy staff where they are most needed.”

There were sufficient police in Mid-South Canterbury “to deliver good policing over the whole area”.

The fixed camera in Arowhenua operates on a dual radar system, signals from the radars reflecting off vehicles and back to the camera.

One radar identifies speeding vehicles by measuring vehicle speed three times in quick succession, the middle speed being used.

The second radar identifies the lane the vehicle is in and double-checks the speed reading.

If the vehicle exceeds the speed enforcement threshold, the camera takes a photograph.

The camera is also able to differentiate between vehicles such as heavy trucks and cars, which have different speed limits.