Up to sixty tickets were issued in the last two weeks to drivers ignoring yellow lights, says the new Canterbury Police Intersection Safety team. On Wednesday 23 September for example, twenty tickets were issued in Christchurch to drivers running the lights.
"More than half of all injury crashes in Canterbury occur at intersections," says Sergeant Peter Daly. "Too many drivers accelerate to beat the lights when they could as easily stop."
The Intersection Safety team is part of a new Government initiative funded to address the intersection problems in Christchurch and Selwyn District. A Sergeant with 7 staff, including motor cycles, will focus on intersections, with the support of all other police.
"Because we are focussing on the intersections we are far more aware of drivers breaching the law," say Peter Daly. "So many drivers put their foot down to beat the lights when they could so easily just stop."
The top twenty most dangerous intersections have been identified in both Christchurch and Selwyn. There are less breaches in Selwyn but the consequences there, where many roads meet 100km/hr limits, are 'so much more vicious', says Sergeant Daly.
"You won't see high profile police at intersections but there will probably be at least one or two you will not easily see," says Mr Daly. "We're out there all the time and we're taking the time to write tickets."
"The excuses are never ending. There're too many 'Tuis'. With vehicle mechanics, tires and brakes so much better than twenty years ago, when we hear the excuse that 'I couldn't stop', we think - 'yeah right'."
Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004
(4) While a steady yellow signal in the form of a disc is displayed,
(a) a driver facing the signal must not enter the controlled area while the signal is displayed unless the driver's vehicle is, when the signal first appears, so close to the controlled area that it cannot safely be stopped before entering the area: