Safety camera trial detects 50,000 potential offences in first two months

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 17, 2022

 More than 50,000 potential driving offences have been detected during the first two months of a Waka Kotahi trial of safety cameras in Auckland.

The six-month trial got underway on 23 May using two cameras at three locations in Auckland to detect instances of drivers using hand-held mobile phones as well as those not wearing seatbelts.

The cameras capture all vehicles moving through the site, detecting drivers whose hands are not both on the steering wheel of the vehicle and potentially otherwise occupied with a mobile phone. From 23 July, the cameras have also been detecting whether the occupants are wearing a seatbelt.

Over the first two months of the trial, a total of 50,333 potential mobile phone use offences have been detected – an average of 800 per day, representing 1.14%of the total number of 4.4 million vehicles that have travelled through the camera sites in the first two months.

Kane Patena, Waka Kotahi Director of Land Transport said the initial data is providing useful insight into the camera technology itself as well as providing evidence on the level of offending.

“We know that driver distraction is a contributing factor in nearly 8% of all crashes where someone is killed, and approximately 90 people a year are killed on our roads because they didn’t wear a seatbelt,” Patena said.

“However, the scale of actual distracted driving and seatbelt non-compliance in general is mostly anecdotal.

“The purpose of this trial is twofold – to test the camera technology and ensure that it is capable of detecting offences, and to build on the evidence base to help us better understand the scale of illegal mobile phone use and non-wearing of seatbelts,” he said.

“A key part of Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, involves supporting good road user choices, which includes encouraging people to not use their phones while driving and making sure everyone is correctly restrained. Better evidence on these issues will help shape new initiatives to encourage people to make safer choices while driving.”

Patena said a full analysis will be undertaken following the completion of the six-month trial. Waka Kotahi will publish a full report with detailed findings following the completion of the trial.

“We are only two months into the trial, and no detailed analysis has been completed on the raw data. Decisions on the future use of this technology will be made following the completion of the trial and a detailed analysis of the results.”

Because the trial is focused on gathering information, and there is no Police involvement in the trial, no enforcement action will be taken as a result of the trial.