Campaign targets intersection issues

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As of yesterday, Oamaru police have started targeting five trouble spot intersections as part of a two-month campaign.

The worst of these is the intersection of Orwell St and State Highway 1, which police said had an estimated social cost of $4 million as a result of crashes over the past five years.

“Crashes occurred as a result of drivers failing to give way, entering the corner too fast and merging incorrectly,” said Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall, the Dunedin Clutha Waitaki road policing manager.

The estimated social cost of crashes at the other four Oamaru intersections was $1m. Sergeant McDouall said they did not want to disclose the locations of these four intersections.

He said a lot of research had been done into crashes at the intersections – the times of the day when they had occurred and the days of the week when they were most prevalent.

This information would decide how Oamaru police would run their campaign and Sergeant McDouall said traffic units would also come up from Dunedin to assist.

The campaign is focusing on driver behaviour, including drivers who run traffic lights, do not wear safety belts and use cellphones while driving.

Twelve intersections in Dunedin and three each in Balclutha and Mosgiel are also being targeted during the campaign.

“The total social cost of incidents that occur at these intersections is estimated to be over $20m over the past five years,” Sergeant McDouall said.

“Crashes occur for all sorts of reasons – drivers failing to give way or stop at red lights for other vehicles and pedestrians misjudging speed and hitting parked vehicles and entering and cutting the corner at speed.

“Poor observation of what’s going on in the immediate environment is also a cause of crashes,” Sergeant McDouall said.

By CHRIS TOBIN