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Everything you need to know about police radar, laser and speed cameras in New Zealand

1) What are the different types of police radar / laser & speed cameras used in NZ?

a) What is the respective the tolerance / accuracy of each device?


b) What are the guidelines for use of this equipment?


c) How do these devices make mistakes?

i) Moving Radar errors and mistakes


ii) Laser (LIDAR) errors and mistakes


iii) Speed camera errors and mistakes

2) What products offer the best protection against these types of police radar / laser / cameras?

a) What are the laws governing the use of radar / laser detectors?


b) Can the police determine if you are using a radar detector?

3) What are the penalties / demerit points and speeding fines for NZ?

a) If I know I wasn't speeding, how can I challenge / beat a speeding fine

4) What are the road fatality statistics for New Zealand?


5) Summary for police radar, laser and speed cameras in New Zealand



What Radar / Laser speed measuring devices are used in NZ?

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In New Zealand, the police use the following speed measurement devices:

 

Dash Mounted radar (aka moving radar) set up in police cars:

The first dash-mounted radars used in NZ was the Hawk K-band 24.150GHz radars manufactured by Kustom Signals Inc in the USA.  These units can be used in stationary and moving mode, and can be used in "instant on" mode or "constant on" mode. 

 

 

The majority of the dash-mounted (moving) radar now days in NZ is Ka-band.  The Silver Eagle by Kustom Signals Inc has new DSP software and a new antenna design, allowing the operator to monitor not only the strongest signal but also the fastest same direction speed.

 

 

The deadly Stalker also operates on Ka-band, manufactured in the USA and like the Kustom Eagle, can display both the strongest and fastest targets simultaneously.  The Stalker DSR can monitor faster vehicles passing larger vehicles and display the speed of both targets simultaneously.

 

 

 

Hand-held laser (aka lidar):

The first laser gun to be used in New Zealand was the LTI 20-20 Marksman.  Laser operates using light pulses (as opposed to RF or microware energy like radar) and due to the small diameter of the laser beam, is an excellent "pointing tool" for targeting individual cars in heavy traffic.  The LTi operates at a frequency 904nm, and although an older model, is still operational in NZ

 

 

The latest Lidar gun used in New Zealand is the LTI Ultralyte 100LR speed laser (lidar) gun.  It is thought the LTI Ultralyte 100 LR used in New Zealand is the 100pps (pulses per second) model displaying speed and distance in km/h and km respectively.  The LTI Ultralyte 100LR also operates at a frequency of 904nm, and as per all speed lidar guns, has an extremely narrow divergence of the  radar beam, as well as  able to acquire a vehicle's speed in less than one second.

 

 

 

 

Mobile Speed Cameras:

Photo radar has been used in Australia for around 7-8 years, and in 1993, the New Zealand police decided to follow the Australian's lead (as they slavishly do in all policy matters) and introduce it into New Zealand. They bought around 30 of Autopatrol PR100 cameras, which are a mobile Ka band unit operating on 34.6GHz ± 150MHz at a lower power rating around 0.2 - 0.5 watts. These are usually mounted in the back of a Toyota Camery station wagon, but can also be mounted on a tripod, away from the vehicle.  They are set up at an angle of precisely 22.5 degrees to the road, and they use a laser to set up this angle.

 

Fixed Speed Cameras:

The fixed speed cameras in NZ are the Autopatrol SP200 which are a fixed, pole mounted camera connected to sensors built into the road that measure your speed.  There are about 70 "boxes" but only about 14 actual cameras, which are rotated around these sites.  A vehicle crosses the first sensor strip, alerting the camera system to the vehicle's presence.  The presence detection loop serves as a check to ensure that a vehicle is actually passing between two strips.  As the vehicle passes the second sensor strip, a measurement of the vehicle's speed is taken.  If the vehicle is traveling faster than the speed limit, a photograph is taken.

 

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How accurate are these devices?

 

The assumption being made here, is that the speed measuring equipment is being used according to the manufacturer's guidelines (see below).

The Kustom Eagle dash mounted moving radar is accurate to ± 2km/h in stationary mode and ± 3km/h in moving mode

 

The LTI Ultralyte Laser (Lidar) gun is also accurate to ± 2km/h and cannot be operated in moving mode.

 

The Autopatrol PR100NZ mobile speed camera is accurate to -2km/h to +1km/h from 30 - 100km/h and -4 to +1km/h above 100km/h

 

The Autopatrol SP200 fixed speed camera is accurate to -2km/h to +1km/h

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What are the guidelines for use of this equipment??

 

Download the New Zealand Speed Camera Program

 

 

Download the New Zealand mobile Speed Camera guidelines

 

 

Download the New Zealand fixed Speed Camera guidelines

 

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How do Police Radar, Laser & Speed Cameras make mistakes?

 

Speed camera mistakes:

 

Photo radar - the New Zealand experience (source)

The cost of buying the cameras and setting them up was $NZ17 million (around $US10 million) and in the first year of operation, they brought in $NZ23 million ( $US16 million) - a return on investment the mafia would be proud of. Each year since, they have averaged $23-25 million each year, with running costs of around $NZ10 million ($US 6 million). I am not 100% sure of the running costs figure, but I believe it is correct. I don't believe it would be any higher.

 

There are a few interesting points:

 

when they were introduced, the police and politicians said that it was not to be a money making venture, rather it was to increase road safety. To this end, one must ask why all the funds collected go into the consolidated fund, rather than driver safety and education? Despite election promises to the contrary, this has not changed, and has been quietly forgotten about.

 

In order to ease the introduction, it was stated policy that the cameras would not be hidden, but must be visible from 50m away. This is not as generous as it sounds, since it takes your picture at a 22.5 degree angle across the road, or around 25m away from the car. This gives you just enough time to put on a big smile as the robot says "cheese". It has also been observed in the breach in many occasions, as cars are hidden by trees, etc. As is typical of politicians promises, this has now been broken. They are "trialling" hidden camera deployment, with the aim of making it nationwide. Currently there are demerit points on your license for each ticket issued by an ordinary cop, but not with camera tickets. I am willing to wager that this will change within the next 2 years. Similarly, they are (supposed) to be used only in areas designated as speed camera zones, with signs to war motorists. Again, this has often not been the case (but the ticket is still valid, with or without the sign) and there are moves to remove this condition as well.

 

At the time of introduction, a law was passed through Parliament saying that the registered owner of the vehicle was responsible for all tickets issued to the vehicle. Yup, if the police say you are guilty, then it must be so, unless you can point to someone else. Can't do that? To bad, pay the Man on the way out. Where were the cries of civil liberties groups, who are usually so vocal in cases of "guilty until proven innocent"? They were astonishingly quiet, possibly do to the "crime" becoming not politically correct thanks to a multi million dollar ad campaign supporting the introduction of speed cameras at the time. Proving yourself innocent is impossible, as there is no officer to put on the witness stand to cross examine, and unless you can name the driver, you end up wearing it anyway. Although the cameras are smart, they are not infallible, e.g. they require setting up so that the beam angle runs across the line of traffic at 22.5 degrees. If this is not done, then the resulting speed reading will be wrong. Try proving that it wasn't done correctly, 3 weeks after the fact

 

10 speed cameras churn out 60,000 fines
By Louisa Cleave 11/1/06

The 10 busiest speed camera sites in the country churned out almost 60,000 fines in the past financial year, but police say the number is falling as motorists heed the call to slow down.

National Party law and order spokesman Simon Power is calling for police to assure drivers speed cameras are being used on dangerous roads and not simply for revenue gathering.

The top 10 cameras were in mainly urban areas with high traffic volumes.

Mr Power said he would be seeking information on the crash rates at the locations and the amount of fines the cameras had generated.

"Speed cameras should be in accident black spots in order to encourage sensible driving practices in dangerous areas.

"Labour's reputation when it comes to ticketing has been on quantity, not quality. But we need to concentrate on quality by targeting the right areas if we are to bring the road toll down," he said.

Superintendent Dave Cliff, in charge of road policing, said cameras were placed at locations with a history of speed-related crashes or where speeding was a problem.

The locations were decided in consultation with the Automobile Association, Land Transport and local councils, he said.

Figures released to Mr Power by police show the usual suspects among the busiest camera locations, including the Mt Wellington Highway, Ellerslie-Panmure Highway, and Pah Rd in Auckland.

Police said the number of speed camera fines was declining, with a total of 493,505 fines issued in 2003 compared with 467,787 fines in 2004 and 382,276 fines in 2005.

Police will introduce speed camera zones around schools as part of a February campaign when children return to school.

 

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What is the best defense against each of these speed measuring devices??

 

Simple! - "Don't speed" - I hear echo amongst the narrow minded.  That's fine, and we agree whole heartedly, but "Don't speed and you won't have to pay a fine" assumes three very important things:


"Speed cameras play an important role in detecting speeding motorists and I think everybody would love to think the cameras play a good deterrent role. But the problem is you have to have confidence that they work properly and if they don't than the public will lose confidence in them and they'll lose their deterrent value."

 

So what happens when you are driving down the road, sitting on 80km/h (according to your speedometer) in an 80km/h stretch of road, but you cop a speeding fine?

 

Dash Mounted radar (aka moving radar) set up in police cars:

The Hawk, and the Silver and Golden Eagle dash mounted radars are manufactured by Kustom Signals Inc in the USA.  When transmitting in "constant on" you will be able to detect the long-range radar beam with any reasonable radar detector.  The Valentine One is the best radar detector at detecting K-band dash-mounted radar, and is equal


in performance with the Bel STi driver and detecting Ka-band dash-mounted radar.  The Stalker Dual radar is a deadly unit, manufactured by Stalker Radar from the USA.  If you are the only vehicle on the road and you're targeted with "instant on" your toast!  Most NZ police support the use of radar detectors as they keep the driver alert and mindful of their speeds.

 

At this point, some people have asked the question about radar jamming. 

Your most important question in purchasing a so-called radar jammer should be "does it work?"
 
You may have seen them advertised on other websites and some magazines: the passive radar/laser jammers (also known as radar scramblers).  Some passive jammers are

Phantom, Phantom II, Phaser or Phazar, the Phantom III and The Black Widow.



Passive radar Jammers DO NOT WORK!Rocky Mountain Radar (RMR). We have tested many of their units and we have yet to find one that works as advertised.

Know what to avoid before you purchase such a passive jammer, consider reading the "Jamming Testing Report" by Radar Roy first to find out why we do not sell and/or recommend them.

Active Radar Jammers - Not Much Improvement! You may have also heard of the active radar jammers with the name of or The Scorpion. These do work to a limited degree.

Active radar jammers like those named above, only jam X, K with any success and have difficulty jamming Instant on radar.  Their effectiveness against Ka radar is even less, especially at close range.  Read a test report on active radar jammers here

 

Hand-held laser (aka lidar):

Laser guns are another "deadly" device in that they can calculate your speed in less than a second.  Although most radar detectors include a laser sensor, they usually offer little more than a "ticket notifier" when they go off.  Having said that, there ARE circumstances where a laser (detector) can and has, provided adequate warning...although these are few and far times in between.  Click on the video below and to the left (allow pop-ups) to watch just how quickly a laser acquires a vehicle's speed.

 

 

So what is the best defenses against laser?  Well, as far as a detector goes, the best at detecting laser is the Valentine One.  Granted we just finished convincing you a detector is useless against laser, but the Valentine One, will give you the chance of detecting "off-axis" laser from the car in front of you being targeted.  For proof that the Valentine is the best unit at detecting laser, you can read Bob's (The Veilguy) Laser Detector test:

 

 

"That being stated, these results suggest that, especially in close-range laser encounters, the Valentine 1 is the top performing laser detector, by a wide-margin, followed by the Escort 8500 X50 and more closely, the STi Driver, and the Beltronics RX65 Pro.."

But as mentioned above,ve, just detecting the laser won't be enough.  The most cost effective solution is with the use of Veil anti-laser paint.  Veil will give you additional seconds warning time when used in conjunction with a good laser detector.  You can read more about Veil in our laser jammers section

 

The ultimate defense against laser is by the use of an active laser jammer.  Unlike most active radar jammers, active laser jammers do work.  An active laser jammer will prevent a speed being displayed for a brief time whilst you adjust your speed if necessary.  The best laser jammers for the LTI Ultralyte according to the Guys Of Lidar 2007 test are the Laser Interceptor and the Blinder.  The Laser Pro-park finished fifth against these laser guns.

 

Fixed Speed Cameras:

The best product for alerting to a fixed speed and red light cameras is a GPS device that stores these locations in a database.  Many GPS manufacturers offer products that add this service (called "point of interest") to their navigation products.  Both radar detectors and GPS based devices are perfectly legal to own and operate in New Zealand at the time of writing.

 

 

 

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How does each radar detector perform detecting NZ radars, lasers & cameras?

 

 

Summary for best radar detector for New Zealand:

 

You can read the detailed test reports in our reviews section, but against all New Zealand threats, the Valentine One in combination with Veil anti-laser paint or the Blinder M-20 Laser Jammer is the best combination for protection against all current radar, laser and speed cameras.

 

A NavAlert GPS based device is also recommended for alerting you to New Zealand's fixed and red light cameras.  The NavAlert GPS system stores all New Zealand's ixed speed cameras & Red Light cameras in its database, which is kept up-to-date via the internet.  Simply plug your NavAlert unit into the USB port, and upload the database each time new cameras are installed in New Zealand.

 

As you approach a fixed speed or red light camera, the NavAlert alerts you if you are driving over the posted speed limit, whilst displaying your real-time speed on its screen.  When you drop below the posted speed limit, the NavAlert automatically mutes itself!

 

As well as fixed speed camera sites, the NavAlert can warn you as you approach a school zone on a weekday.  A voice alert will prompt your attention as you approach the school zone, and silence as you pass through it.

 

As well as known fixed speed and red light camera locations, you have the ability to add your own "points of interest" to the unit, and have five classifications for these "POI's"

  • Fixed speed cameras

  • Popular mobile camera locations

  • Red Light Cameras

  • School Zones

  • High collision areas (black spot locations)

 

 

The NavAlert can store 150,000 separate points of interest.

 

The NavAlert is easy to install. In the box there is a small rubberized magnet, with a peel off sticky base. The user simply has to remove the sticker cover, and position the magnet on the top of their dashboard. Insert the power jack into the cigar lighter, and plug the other end of the lead into the NavAlert unit, then place on top of the magnet. It is now ready to use.

 

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What are the laws governing the use of radar detectors in NZ?

 

In New Zealand there are NO laws banning the use of a radar detector, however you may be fined for obstructing your windscreen if you have it mounted in the middle of the windshield.

 

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Can the police determine if you are using a radar detector??

 

Because there are no anti-detector laws, there are no police Radar Detector Detectors (RDD's) used in NZ

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What are the Speeding Fines for New Zealand? (source)

 

If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by up to 10Km/h $30.00.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 11 - 15Km/h $80.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 16 - 20Km/h $120.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 21 - 25Km/h $170.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 26 - 30Km/h $230.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 31 - 35Km/h $300.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 36 - 40Km/h $400.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 41 - 45Km/h $510.00
If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 46 - 50Km/h $630.00
 

Demerit Points
Exceeding the speed limit by up to 10Km/h - 10 pointsnts
Exceeding the speed limit by 11 - 20Km/h - 20
Exceeding the speed limit by 21-30Km/h - 35
Exceeding the speed limit by 31-35Km/h - 40
Note: only police officer issued speeding infringements incur demerit points

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What are the road fatality statistics for New Zealand??

 

Year

Road Fatalities

1994

228

1995

221

1996

177

1997

162

1998

162

1999

153

2000

102

2001

141

2002

126

2003

167

2004

172

 

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Summary for radar, laser & speed cameras in New Zealand

 

The number one radar detector for New Zealand

is the Valentine One - Why?

  • It will detect mobile speed cameras earlier than any other detector or

    (proof)

  • It has detect police laser better than any other detector in the world

    (proof)

  • It will detect the dash-mounted Hawk K-band police radar earlier than any other New Zealand radar detector (proof)

  • It will detect the Silver Eagle and Stalker dash-mounted Ka-band radars equally as well as the best Bel radar detectors (proof)

  • When programmed with the auto mute mode it is the quietest detector for false alarms

    (videos coming)

Combining the Valentine One available in either the windscreen mounting model, or the V1 hidden remote version, with Veil anti-laser paint offers the great protection against New Zealand police radar, laser and speed cameras.  For the best protection, we'd recommend combining the Valentine One with the Blinder M-20 Laser Jammer.

We also recommend the NavAlert system, as it can save money and save lives.  NavAlert will alert you to New Zealand's fixed speed cameras, red light cameras and school zones, with over speed warnings, voice alerts and your current speed displayed on the front screen.  Available soon!

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