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Drivers adjusting well to lower Auckland speed limits, police say - but warn of tickets if necessary

Auckland Transport says changes made to speed limits in the region a month ago have not led to slower journeys, as police warn motorists to pay heed to the new lower limits or face enforcement.

Source: 1 NEWS

The slower speed limits took effect on July 1, introduced on 600 roads including in Auckland's city centre, Rodney and Franklin.

In a release yesterday, the transport agency said it had conducted polling between July 14-22, and that more than half of respondents who were aware of the changes felt like their travel times had increased since the changes.

New Auckland speed limits in force from today - check the map of your route

However, Auckland Transport officials said data shows that average journey times in the city centre have not significantly increased at all, and that where journey times have increased it's been by less than a minute.

"Similarly, based on a sample of roads in Franklin, the speed limit change has had little or no impact on average journey time, since average travel speeds tended to already be at or below the new speed limits," said the agency's executive manager of safety, Bryan Sherritt.

The poll suggested that:

  • 93 per cent of respondents were concerned with the number of deaths or serious injuries on New Zealand roads
  • 71 per cent thought the speed limit changes would reduce the risk of injury and severity of injury when crashes occur
  • 86 per cent supported the lowering of speed limits near schools and kindergartens
  • 72 per cent supported the lowering of speed limits in local towns and shopping centres
  • 71 per cent supported the lowering of speed limits on rural roads with high crash rates

Overall, 61 per cent of respondents to the polling supported the changes to speed limits which were made on July 1.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said that "reducing speeds on high-risk roads is part of how we hope to reduce deaths and serious injuries and keep road users safe.

"It is encouraging to see that Aucklanders understand the need for the changes and that most support them being made."

Meanwhile, police say they are happy, overall, with the level of compliance with the lower speed limits.

Acting Inspector Jason McIntosh, relieving road policing manager for Tamaki Makaurau, said police had adopted an "educational approach" to enforcement over the first few weeks of the changes being made.

He said while police will not be actively targeting the new roads with the aiming of catching people out, "we will however deploy to these roads if people are driving in a manner which puts themselves and others at risk".

"Police warn motorists that anyone found driving at excess speeds above the reduced speed limit risks enforcement action," Mr McIntosh said.

"We make no apologies for this approach, as our aim is to reduce driving behaviour which puts lives at risk and prevent harm on our roads."