Good choice for police on the Hamilton section of the Waikato Highway
There were 22 speeding tickets issued during the opening week of the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway.
Motorists were quick to flout the speed limit on New Zealand’s new stretch of road.
In its first week open to the public, 22 tickets were given out on the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway. The top speed was a motorist caught at 142 km/h, which earned them a $300 fine.
Rubber hit the road on the Hamilton section on July 14, just before 10 p.m. The 21 km section is the last part of the 110 km Waikato Highway.
Like all roads in the country despite a speed limit of 110 km, there is no speed tolerance.
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Figures obtained from police after an Official Information Act request showed that one of the first fines was issued on July 15, for a car traveling 119km – nine kilometers over the speed limit – costing the driver $30.
The fastest person at 146 km/h was also caught on the same day.
They were the only two motorists fined on Friday, while six were arrested on Saturday with the fastest driver at 133 km/h being fined $170, while a utility driver was also was fined $170 for being stopped at 131 km/h.
Seven people were arrested on Sunday breaking the speed limit – the fastest being 132km/h.
Seven other people were caught breaking the law on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – the fastest was a utility on July 21 which was 29km over the limit at 139km.
Waikato District Highway Patrol Chief Jeff Peno was the officer who issued the 142km ticket, he said he didn’t have to say much to the offender.
“The infringement notice speaks for us.”
If there were motorists driving more than 50 km/h over the speed limit, they would not be included in the figures and would instead be dealt with by way of a hearing and court-imposed penalty.
At more than 50 km/h over the limit, drivers can be charged with reckless, dangerous or reckless driving and fined $630.
Penno said police will be on the highway. This will not be evident as the road is built, so there is no significant risk.
“There’s not much enforcement on this stretch of road because I have roads with 10 times more risk that need enforcement and I can’t do both.
“However, if people choose to go at a stupid speed, they can certainly expect to be apprehended.”
Penno said the issuance of 22 tickets during the week on this stretch of road is small compared to the number of tickets issued by officers that they issue in a week.
Waka Kotahi estimates around 143,000 vehicles used the Hamilton section in the first week of operation, with the busiest day being Saturday with around 25,000 vehicles.
The Waikato Highway from Cambridge to Hampton Downs has a maximum speed of 110 km/h, one of only two roads in the country with this speed limit. The other being SH2 Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road.
The Waka Kotahi roads designated with a limit of 110 km/h have been designed and built in such a way that they can withstand higher travel speeds without compromising safety.
Features that make it safer to travel at higher speeds include at least two lanes in each direction, a central median barrier, and no significant curves.
The 142 km speed ticket on the Hamilton section is not the fastest the Waikato Highway has seen.
In 2012, a 21-year-old man from Waiuku was arrested and his license suspended after an officer registered his Subaru Impreza on SH1 1 traveling about 120 mph. The incident happened between Taupiri and Horotiu.
In 2015, two racing drivers had their cars confiscated after allegedly speeding past a police speed camera on the Waikato Highway at 200 km/h.
In 2018, Tyler Phillip Knolles, then 22, from Auckland, was caught driving his mother’s Honda Civic at 130 mph near Tamahere.