The New Zealand Government is still considering the introduction of tougher fines and penalties for road users in order to deter them from breaking rules like speed limits.
A report from Newshub indicates that Transport Minister Michael Wood is still keen on implementing harsher penalties but won’t commit to doing so before the upcoming election later this year.
Last year, the Ministry of Transport proposed a policy to Cabinet that outlined an increase in severity of fines and penalties that would hopefully deter motorists from breaking the road rules. The new policy was meant to be finalised by the end of 2022 but still hasn’t been assessed by the Government.
When asked why this was the case, Wood told media that there “are so many other things” to do with the transport sector that he is focusing on at the moment, such as other aspects of Waka Kotahi’s Road to Zero campaign and policy considerations.
He wouldn’t say what’s included in the proposal, but we assume it involves hiking the price of infringements like speeding fines and other road offences.
According to the Road to Zero Annual Monitoring Report 2021, and as reported by Newshub, it was deemed that many of New Zealand’s current road safety penalties “may be too low to deter undesirable behaviour”.
The report also states that our current fines and penalties “do not align with the level of risk of the offending and, in some cases, are not effective in changing driver behaviour”.
Currently, drivers breaking the speed limit by less than 10km/h receive a $30 fine and have done so since 1999. The same can be said for demerit points which have also remained the same since 1999.
It’s worth noting that the Government upped the fine for using a mobile phone while driving from $80 to $150.
With that being said, a review of fines and penalties for road users is well overdue but we’ll have to at least wait until the election before anything is done about it.