Speed limit option has council concerned

By Gary Farrow

Hamilton city councillors have concerns about a higher speed limit. Photo / file
Hamilton city councillors have concerns about a higher speed limit. Photo / file

Concern for the safety of road users in Hamilton has led city councillors to make a submission to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) about setting of speed limits.

NZTA is seeking feedback on its Draft Land Transport Rule into the determination of how speed limits are set in New Zealand.

It wants to replace current methodology dating back to the 1960s with an approach using new technology and data to help minimise road risk.

One of the changes the draft rule suggests is increasing speed limits on the best roads to 110 km/h.

"I do have a concern that, while I support increasing of certain roads to 110 km/h, it just concerns me that then becomes 120 km/h, before I'm likely to get a ticket for having committed an offence," Cr Rob Pascoe commented.

This was based on the common presumption by motorists that there is a 10 km/h tolerance to exceed a speed limit before they get ticketed, except for long weekends, when it is widely seen to be reduced to a 4 km/h tolerance.

"I'm suggesting we put on the table a comment about those tolerance levels," Cr Pascoe said.

Cr Geoff Taylor was also cautious about that point.

"I have concerns about inexperienced drivers, which is the reason why I raised this in the first place, and there's an assumption in this country that if a speed limit's 100, you can get up to 110, and I think that's something that we need to try and curb," he said.

"If we can push a situation where people knew that 110 was pretty much 110, then I'd be very happy with that."

Cr Mark Bunting said he hadn't seen anywhere in writing that there is a 10 km/h allowance over the signposted speed limit.

But he said this show definitely come under open conversation.

"I think there is a time we should say in this city we're going to be tight on speed limits, and this is that time, so I think it's entirely appropriate to bring it up right now and I fully support it."

Despite NZTA asking for submissions regarding the possible change of road rules, Mayor Andrew King said it was not Hamilton City Council's position to suggest speed limits and tolerances.

"I don't think we've got a 100 km/h zone in the whole of Hamilton, and I'm not here to do Police's job," Mayor King said.

"They choose how they monitor the roads and I don't want to be seen as a Hamilton City councillor telling the Police where the limit is and how much discretion they have on having flexibility in certain circumstances as to how they enforce the rules.

"So I just think it's way outside of what I'm here for."

The motion was carried 8-4.

- Hamilton News

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