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Highway patrol slows traffic

Motorists are slowing down on the road thanks to the visual presence of new State Highway Patrol vehicles.

The Environment Waikato Regional Land Transport Committee heard speeds were starting to drop on highways as drivers became aware of the vehicles. Inspector Leo Tooman said motorists used to travel at 120 to 130 kph and now speeds have dropped to 110 to 110 kph, which was “more realistic”.

People had the perception that driving at over 110 kph would get them a ticket, although one motorcycle had been stopped at 194 kph.

Inspector Tooman said he had spoken to a number of community groups about the patrols and the feedback was that the community was on the side of enforcement. Many people said they felt safer on the road, although one motorist had received three infringement notices in an hour and 15 minutes.

Cars were now being based around the Region, with vehicles in Whangamata, Ngatea, Waihi, Te Awamutu, Huntly and Te Kuiti, he said.

It was hoped the patrols would reduce the number of deaths on the road and in March, while there were five deaths in one day, the rest of the month was clear.

Chairman Morris McFall said the Committee had always pressed very hard for a return to specialised road patrolling which may have a significant effect on a group of motorists who wanted to push the limits.

Inspector Tooman said in three months, 7800 infringement notices were issued, 11,600 motorists stopped and 50 percent were given verbal warnings. Slow drivers were also being targeted.

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