Tom Rowland is a Hamilton News reporter.

Hamilton City Council wants police to target red light runners

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Council wants cameras to catch red light runners. Photo / Ben Fraser
Council wants cameras to catch red light runners. Photo / Ben Fraser

Red light runners are being targeted by Hamilton City Council, with the mayor and chief executive pushing police to install red light cameras as the council works towards its goal of zero road deaths.

The issue was raised at the council's growth and infrastructure committee meeting last week, when the general manager reported that in 2018 there were nine fatalities on Hamilton roads, while there had already been one death this year.

From 2014 to 2018, there were 24 fatal and 212 serious crashes, which overall resulted in 26 deaths and 234 serious injuries.

Growth and infrastructure committee chair Councillor Dave Macpherson told staff the council has been asking for at least 12 years for installation of red light cameras.

"It is finally operational in Auckland, so what is the prognosis for us to be getting red light cameras, to do some enforcing and monitoring?" Mr Macpherson said.

Staff said the cameras were owned by New Zealand Police, and there continued to be difficulty around the budget to do that work.

"The particular issue they have is in the back room, with the processing of all that data," HCC city transportation network operations manager Robyn Denton said.

"Red light cameras are sometimes combined with speed cameras. Sometimes they are not running a red light, but increasing their speed to squeeze through on the last bit of an amber light."

Police told Hamilton News that police focus is on reducing death and serious injury on the road.

"We work with our road safety partners to achieve this, including the NZ Transport Agency and councils."

"If councils approach police about road safety initiatives, including red light cameras, we discuss those with them on a case by case basis."

Mr Macpherson asked how many serious accidents would have to happen before the discussions around new cameras concluded and action would be taken.

Staff recommended that a letter be written from the mayor and the chief executive to Police and the Ministry of Transport to speed along the process, outlining Hamilton's concern.

Councillor Angela O'Leary supported Mr Macpherson's recommendation saying she never understood the lack of red light cameras in the country.

"How much is a ticket if you run a red light? A couple of hundred dollars," Ms O'Leary said.

"It is quite significant and they would pay for themselves so I'd be keen to explore whether we can do it."

"Buses are the worst red light runners, I come down Ward Street every single time a bus will run a red light, this just seems like a no brainer revenue gatherer for people who are breaking the law."

Crash facts
■ From 2014 to 2018, there were 307 injured road users in Hamilton, according to city council staff.
■ The three main types of crashes were crossing and turning, and crashes involving pedestrians.
■ Both crossing/turning and pedestrian crashes are 9 per cent higher than the national average.
■ Top four contributing factors to fatal and serious crashes were, poor observation (40 per cent), alcohol (27 per cent), failed to give way/stop (26 per cent) and going too fast (22 per cent.)
■ Poor observation and failing to give way were 10 per cent and eight per cent higher than the national average. 45 per cent of crashes occurred at intersections in Hamilton, 15 per cent higher than the national average.

- Hamilton News

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