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Published: 2001-05-21 00:00:00

The chances of being caught speeding in the Waikato are increasing with the launch of a new open road patrol campaign.

In an effort to reduce speed and ultimately reduce crashes, road safety agencies from throughout the Waikato have joined forces today to launch “Operation Increasing”.

The campaign aims to increase awareness of the consequences of speeding, promoting the State Highway Patrol’s speed monitoring actions.

Waikato Police Strategic Traffic Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman said the campaign reinforced the road safety partnership between police, LTSA, ACC and Environment Waikato. Inspector Tooman said 29 Highway Patrol cars operated in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, which would be up to a full contingent of 50 cars by early July.

Inspector Tooman said road safety was a community concern, and since the introduction of the Highway Patrol, positive comments had been received from the community. In December 2000, Highway Patrol cars were clocking speeds in excess of 140 kph but they were now averaging 111 kph.

Open road crashes within the Waikato Region accounted for about 45 percent of all crashes within the Region during the 1996-2000 period. Nationally the corresponding figure is 29 percent. Speed has been identified as a crash factor in 11 percent of Waikato open road crashes over the past five years.

LTSA Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Manager Glenn Bunting said speeding was socially irresponsible.

“Putting other road users or passengers at risk by driving irresponsibly fast is just unacceptable, particularly on Waikato’s high risk, open roads. Waikato crash statistics continue to prove that our roads will not safely accommodate the speeding driver”.

Road Safety Programme Manager for ACC Bill Robertson said speed was an important issue that needed to be dealt with and the Highway Patrol was a positive step forward which ACC was pleased to be supporting.

Designed to complement the “Dying Race” summer campaign, “Operation Increasing” will use an interactive billboard message that makes a play on the word “increasing”. By increasing the number of police patrol cars on the billboard over a length of time, the campaign reinforces the message that the chances of being caught speeding is increasing.