1 Sep 2011

66,000 motorists caught running traffic lights

4:03 am on 1 September 2011

Police are defending their enforcement policy on people running red lights.

Figures obtained by Radio New Zealand show during the past five years, more than 66,000 road users were given a $150 ticket for running red and amber traffic lights.

About half the offending occurred in the Auckland region, with Canterbury and Wellington regions collectively accounting for another 25%.

The Automobile Association says there is an epidemic of red light running and the majority of offending is going unpunished.

The Labour Party's transport safety spokesperson, Darien Fenton, says it is a bigger road safety problem than people realise.

Ms Fenton lives in Auckland and says people she has spoken to, including taxi drivers, believe the problem is worse than speeding.

But national road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose says officers are catching red light runners.

"Undoubtedly, police do not detect every instance of offending of this or any other type of unsafe driving, but clearly 60,000 notices over the past five years shows that we are giving this quite a level of attention."

Ms Rose says the level of offending will fall if drivers take personal responsibility and change their behaviour.