Category Archives: Stuff

Part 1: Implementing communication protocol for GT06E GPS tracker – WTF is CRC-ITU???

Preamble:

As an experiment I bought a relatively cheap GPS tracker that supported 3G (most of them at the time were 2G only).
After quick google search I found a suitable model GT06E from Concox.

The idea was I would implement my own server, as I do not trust 3rd party GPS tracking services (who would?), especially free ones ;).

I did not realise at the time what a mess the protocol is.
The “engineers” who wrote the spec for the protocol are crazy! They reinvented the wheel, which instead of tyre utilizes boots.

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Hikvision applied shotgun to the foot and squeezed the trigger

I guess I will not be recommending Hikvision any more to anyone.

Here is why:
http://www.hikvision.co.uk/faq_80.html
https://goo.gl/2uTtHk

So in short, Hikvision decided to only sell their cameras to authorized installers. The same installers that want $800 for $80 camera.
Well guess what, screw you Hikvision this is not pre-internet era where greedy corporation can dictate what is happening on the market.
I guarantee that this move will not curb prevalence of Chinese sourced cameras on ebay and aliexpress.
Granted this only affects UK and EU. I think this is just a beginning.

I personally will not be buying Hikvision and will definitely advising against buying Hikvision (be that from authorized rip-off artists or aliexpress).

As a company you should not screw with enthusiasts, as the same enthusiasts will be making purchasing decisions for their employers, and you will be losing many million of dollars at the end of the day. I am glad we went with Dahua.

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I decided to replace the 6300k HID bulbs on one of my cars, with more sensible 4300k OEM solution.

I came across reasonably priced Toyota Genuine Bulbs on trademe.co.nz (NZ ebay type of thing).

The particular bulbs I was after were D4R, or Toyota Genuine Part 90981-20015 (alternatively Philips 42406).

They were priced (~$80NZD) similar to Genuine Philips 42406 in USA (~$50USD), so seemed to be reasonable. The Toyota Genuine are after all Philips 42406 in TGP box.

When I tried to fit the bulbs I noticed they were extremely tight. Then I looked closely and did some googling.

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HUSQVARNA rip-off pricing in NZ

So, I came across an interesting, but not surprising thing with Husqvarna MSRP prices in NZ compared to USA.

I recently looked at Husqvarna 445 and when googled for it, I got multiple MSRP prices (one for NZ, on for AU and another for USA).

Husqvarna 445 MSRP by country:
USA: 329.95 USD

AU: 899.00 AUD (~$690 USD)

NZ: 1019.00 NZD (~$745 USD)

According to NZ customs duty calculator using US MSRP price as base the fair MSRP price in NZ should have been $599 NZD (~$440 USD).

What is with the ~$150 USD price difference between NZ and Australia? According to Husqvarna Americans are twice better than Australians and more than twice better than Kiwis. They treat Kiwis like chumps that will buy thing at whatever prices Husqvarna feels like.

Guess what, from now on I will be avoiding the Husqvarna until these greedy corporate types will pull their heads out of their asses and set fair MSRP prices. In this global economy it is very stupid not to have standardised prices across the globe.

If I really wanted to buy one, no way in hell I would be buying it in NZ, as for about $150NZ I can get it shipped from the states.

python OpenCV basic motion detection

Here I will describe how I use OpenCV for capturing RTSP streams, with purpose of motion detection.

For basic OpenCV I use these two libraries:

import cv2
import numpy as np

cv2 is OpenCV library (second version), and numpy is python numeric lybrary (useful for manipulating matrices among other things).

To initiate capture one simply does following:

cap = cv2.VideoCapture('rtsp://192.168.1.69:554/Streaming/Channels/2')

In this example I use second stream (of lower resolution) for motion detection.

From there you can get heigh and width of the frame (this will be useful later):

width = cap.get(3)
height = cap.get(4)

I use BackgroundSubtractorMOG for motion detection (somewhat cheating ;)):

bg = cv2.BackgroundSubtractorMOG(100,3,0.6,30)

The magic is in parameters, I used following:
100 – history
3 – number of Gaussian mixtures
0.6 – background ratio
30 – noise strength
The numbers above are not necessarily “correct” but I came to them with error and trial (and “guestimation”).
Here is document in detail describing this algorithm: http://personal.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/R.Bowden/publications/avbs01/avbs01.pdf

The actual capture loop looks something like this:

while(True):
    ...
    ret, frame = cap.read()
    motion = bg.apply(frame, learningRate=0.005)
    kernel = np.ones((3, 3), np.uint8)
    motion = cv2.morphologyEx(motion, cv2.MORPH_CLOSE, kernel, iterations=1)
    motion = cv2.morphologyEx(motion, cv2.MORPH_OPEN, kernel, iterations=1)
    motion = cv2.dilate(motion,kernel,iterations = 1)
    contours, hierarchy = cv2.findContours(motion, cv2.RETR_EXTERNAL,cv2.CHAIN_APPROX_SIMPLE)
    ...
ret, frame = cap.read()

captures a single frame

motion = bg.apply(frame, learningRate=0.005)

extracts a black and white image with the background removed (learnignRate value has been chosed by error and trial).

Next four lines simply manipulate extracted image in such that it does following:
MORPH_CLOSE: removes small holes (up to 3×3 pixel, defined by kernel) within the object (“white”) in the extracted motion matrix.
MORPH_OPEN: removes small dots within the “background” (black) in the extracted motion matrix.
dilate: is making sure there all adjacent islands are joined together, so when we extract contours we get small amount of contours as result.

The “3×3 pixel” block comes from here:

kernel = np.ones((3, 3), np.uint8

The last step from processing frame is extracting the contours:

contours, hierarchy = cv2.findContours(motion, cv2.RETR_EXTERNAL,cv2.CHAIN_APPROX_SIMPLE)

The extracted contours can then be iterated and hull drawn around them:

for cnt in contours:
    hull = cv2.convexHull(cnt)

The hull points then can be checked against the mask if motion is inside of the area of interest:

Lets define the mask as the whole frame (I am pretty sure there is a better way;)):

mask_points = [
( 0 , 0 ),
( 1 , 0 ),
( 1 , 1 ),
( 0 , 1 ),
]

mask_array=[]
for point in mask_points:
    mask_array.append([[int(point[0] * width ), int(point[1] * height )]])
mask = np.array(mask_array, np.int32)

This looks cumbersome, but what I am achieving here is converting mask_points list of human readable relative coordinate tuples (eg: centre will be at (0.5,0.5)). Mask can be defined as a polygon with relative positioning of each corner to the frame (independent from pixel size).

We check if hull point is inside our mask

for point in hull:
    distance = cv2.pointPolygonTest(mask,tuple(point[0]),1)
    if distance > 0:
        it_is_inside()

and vice-versa (in case if mask is smaller than the frame):

Note: The colour is defined by this tuple: (0,255,0)

Then do display the whole thing insert this inside of the while(True):

cv2.imshow('motion',frame)
k = cv2.waitKey(30) & 0xff
if k == 27:
    break

The above is basic idea behind my motion detection scripts. I have omitted a lot of glue logic and arithmetic due to my script is not ready for public display ;).

Subaru Genuine Parts in New Zealand

I have owned numerous Toyotas in past.
When switching from Toyota to Subaru I did not expect to be shocked by such price difference of genuine parts between each brand.
Both Japanese, both of good quality vehicles, similar niche…

Oil and air filters are priced very close (about ~$20NZD for oil filter and ~$40NZD for air filter), beyond that Subaru parts are rip-off.

For example, for my 1998 ST205 Celica GT4, the genuine front brake rotors were ~130NZD each. About double of aftermarket from BNT or Partmaster.
Considering brake rotors are consumables that is very reasonable price.
When I inquired about rotors for my 2008 GRB Subaru WRX STI (JDM), initially I was quoted ~1060NZ each (retail), that came down to $900NZ each. After shopping around I found the cheapest price in New Zealand for genuine front rotor would be ~$695NZ each (trade price BTW).

What is the difference between Toyota Celica GT4 and Subaru WRX STI rotors:
dimensionally they are very close:
315mm x 32mm
vs
326mm x 30mm
So please explain to me why such a price difference?
Genuine Brembo rotors can be bought in USA for about $160USD retail (it would cost uneconomical amount of $$$ to get them shipped to NZ).

Another example is another consumable, brake pads, Toyota Genuine front pads for ST205 Celica (very similar to STI pads) cost about ~$90NZD.
Subaru, at first I was quoted ~$730NZD, then I got “trade” price of ~$620NZD (from Winger). In USA same pads cost around $200USD ($260NZ).

So given the options I got rotors from Partmaster (“Italian made”) for $90NZD each, and pads (Bendix SRT) from BNT for $280NZD a set. Bendix SRT pads were later replaced by Ferodo DS2500 all round (a bit better pad in my opinion).

When I imported my STI it had rear cargo blind missing (BTW Subaru calls it “TONNEAU COVER”, Part number 65550FG002ML).
I enquired about it locally, Winger quoted me ~$430NZD and that was “trade” price (fuck that differentiation). The retail was about $630NZD. For piece of vinyl on a stick with a spring, FFS!?!?
Same part in USA costs around $140USD ($180NZD).
In Japan I got price of 22000JPY, which works out to $235NZD (I don’t have to pay shipping due to special arrangements).
So how does $250 (retail) item becomes $630 item, by just arriving to NZ?

I don’t even dare to think about how much Subaru will charge me for wear items like shocks (Toyota price is ~$140NZD each) and bushes…

Hopefully due to Toyota’s stake in Subaru will have some culture changes, which will lead to price standardisation, making consumables cost like consumables (and not gold-pressed latinum). One would only hope.

Buying Hikvision cameras in New Zealand

This is how you buy genuine Hikvision cameras in New Zealand:
You don’t.

All I wanted to buy is a genuine Hikvision camera locally (with correct Language flag set in firmware, and basic support).
I went onto global Hikvision website and checked listed distributors for New Zealand. I also e-mailed Hikvision regarding the New Zealand distributor.

The Hikvision website lists Atlas Gentech as their distributor. This was confirmed via email as well.

From quick look on Atlas Gentech website it appears that they are deal with trade only (ie wholesale shop).
I have contacted Atlas Gentech, and they confirmed that you need to be a company to deal with them.
They provided me with couple of their customers I could enquire regarding buying Hikvision cameras.
Both of the contacts given were security companies (not a retail shop), as well as what appeared to be “one-man” operations. The security companies naturally have no interest in selling hardware to customers, they are more naturally inclined to sell services (ie. installation and monitoring). There is simply a conflict of interest there to start off.

I have contacted these companies. Only one responded.

Originally I have enquired about DS-2CD2032-I with 12 mm lens. I have been told that it is unavailable and was given two options:
DS-2CD2232-I5 for approximately $700NZ + GST (~$620USD). BTW I have bought DS-2CD2232-I5 from Aliexpress for $95USD. The most expensive DS-2CD2232-I5 on Amazon was around $240USD, while the US version (with correct language flag) is sold around $170USD.
and DS-2CD4232FWD-I a vari-zoom/vari-focal camera for approximately $1200 + GST (~$1073USD). The DS-2CD4232FWD-I can be bought for about $400 USD on Aliexpress.

The camera bought from Aliexpress physically does not differ from cameras that being sold here. The only difference is the language flag (which is fixable), and obviously support/CGA.

I also found that the Aliexpress sourced camera can be bought on trademe for $250NZ ($194USD).

I had expectations of paying maybe 2 times of the US Version, the expectations were completely shattered when Atlas Gentech confirmed that quoted $700NZD + GST was reasonable (and not bullshit RRP price). lets assume that US Version retails for $200USD (a bit higher than $170USD on Amazon). The $620USD is over 3 times of the retail price of US Version.
Remember when camera sold on Aliexpress for $95USD the Alixpress makes a cut, the seller on Alixpress makes a cut and the Hikvision still makes a profit. Looking at the cost of Ambarella SoC (wholesale around $20USD), the cost of making the camera is around $40-50USD. Selling camera for $620 USD is pure greed.

Hikvision is blatantly ripping off New Zealanders, because they can. Shame on you Hikvision for doing so, and shame on you for artificial differentiation of the markets by setting the language bit. Geo-locking in Internet world is stupid and futile.

Shame on you Hikvision for violating GPL as well, since when I bought the cameras there was no mention of the licence, and the camera definitely uses GPL licensed software. The GPL code requests were fallen to silent ears. This company is behaving like a greedy parasite, taking from community and not giving anything back.

plastidip – awesome, but not in NZ

Rubber Dip Spray Gallon

Plastidip! What an awesome idea, change your car colour without the actual damage and cost of actual paint job. It is completely reversible, and creates a protective rubber like layer.

Made by Performix, here is some official info http://dipheadsunite.com/how-it-works/

Heavily promoted on social media by www.dipyourcar.com
Here is their youtube chanel.
They explain really well what is plastidip:

They sell nice kits, like this one:
Professional Large Car Extra Coverage Kit 4 Gallons
For very affordable, $384 USD (~$500 NZD) it has everything that is need to do a reversible colour change.
What an awesome product.

Not in New Zealand.

dipyourcar.com will not ship to New Zealand due to it being dangerous goods. That is understandable.
I don’t really need a kit, all I need is about 10L or so of actual dip, so I enquired with Performix regarding who can sell me 3.78L cans of the stuff, to which I was sent to their local distributor Griffiths.
When called Griffiths regarding the price and availability I was sent to their resellers as they do not deal with public (very common in NZ, goods pass resellers two or three times, while each takes a cut before they get to public).
Their reseller could not give me price immediately, but upon calling back they came up with ridiculous ~$550+GST for 1 can of 3.78L plastidip.
Compared to $59.74US (~$78NZD) dipyourcar.com.
With that price, it would cost me about $2500-3000 to dip my car. A quality respray job is about $5000, and good old wrapping in vinyl is about $2000-$3000 (without me doing anything). It makes no sense!

I bet that dipyourcar.com still makes a lot of money by selling these cans at $60USD.

Since then I found another retailer that sells these cans for slightly more affordable ~$250. So now it would cost me about $1000 to “dip my car”. Still that price is over 250% mark-up.

As usual kiwis being ripped off by fellow kiwis.
How dare these greedy business owners to complain that online shopping is killing their business if their business is 100% based on ripping people off?
This is why people go to length to pay retail prices in USA, get things shipped for exuberant shipping costs via Youshop, pay Duty+GST for importing goods and deal of limited support due to shipping costs.
It is not like the sellers in USA do not make money of the sales to kiwis…

Most common excuse I hear from such greedy businesses is it is expensive because of Consumer Guarantee Act, but hold on a second, what about Amazon, and how easy it is to return the items, they still didn’t run out of business, did they?

What I think is actually happens is there is an old breed of greedy and lazy types of “business” people who think that by marking up 1000% on the price will guarantee easy wealth. Suckers will pay anything right? Wrong. This is slowly dying off, thanks to age of Internet.

Speed kills

Or does it?

Let look at the official statistics:
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/road-deaths/toll.html

Road Toll in NZ is just a bit under 300 (remember that figure). Overall there are about 30,000 deaths in NZ every year (natural or otherwise).
The road toll represents 1%.

I am fed up with NZ Police blatant propaganda against speeding, in particularly that they are trying to spin on the speeding aspect on almost every accident (incident?) on the NZ roads.

Yes speeds is a factor. No, it is not a factor because of some arbitrary limit being exceeded. It is a factor because to get somewhere you have to move and that involves speed (be that 1kph or 100kph). It is like saying that for every fall gravity is a factor. Hell, lets start campaign against gravity!

Alcohol Kills (even more)!
According to this: https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/alcohol/drug-trends alcohol causes more than 1000 deaths per year. In my opinion it is far more avoidable than road toll (at 300). There are over 3 times more deaths from alcohol than from road toll, and unlike road toll the alcohol deaths are 100% preventable. Alcohol deaths represent >3% of all deaths. Pretty pathetic.

Smoking Kills (even more than alcohol)!
According to this: http://smokefree.org.nz/sites/default/files/Fact_5000_NZers-fnl-081003_0_0.pdf Smoking kills 5000 of New Zealanders, and it is far more preventable than Alcohol deaths, and even further more preventable than road toll. For every person that died on the road 16 people died from smoking. Smoking deaths represent almost 17% of all deaths. Very sad.

What really got to me is that during 2014 Christmas break the NZ Police silently introduced (possibly illegally) no tolerance towards speeding: drivers could be stopped by police if they were caught just 1kph over the speed limit.

Here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11365666 NZ Police comissioner quoted to state the following:

He advised drivers to set their cruise control to the limit, or just below, as any speed above the posted limit would warrant an infringement.

It is a very silly thing to say, for starters the cruise control is very unsafe for NZ with so many twisted roads. Secondly the cruise control is a very rare option in New Zealand. Most importantly the cruise control should not be recommended as safe option as it allows the driver to remove feet from the pedals and not being concentrated while driving.

The no tolerance presents multiple problems:

1) The most obvious is accuracy of police measuring equipment (from my research it is not accurate enough, and prone to user error)

2) The inaccuracy of the speedometers

3) The disparity of the readings of speedometers between different vehicles

4) The unfairness between sampling rate of the speedometer by the driver and the enforcing officer.

5) The drivers will tend to focus on speedometer than on the road.

6) Effective speed limit becomes 10-20kph less than posted due to speed-cautious drivers (they say speed limit is not a target, but if it is not, what is the point?).

7) Even more difficult passing lane manoeuvre, due to less head room and the annoying effect of speeding up on the passing lanes being amplified.

8) Due to stupidity of the no tolerance, the NZ Police endanger people by doing dangerous manoeuvres, and speeding themselves (far more than 1kph) to catch the “speeders” that went over 1kph over limit.

9) Most importantly the delusion (or a blatant lie?) of the success of the “Speed Kills” campaign.

#1. Accuracy of the police equipment.

At this stage I have no answer, as I am still waiting for NZ Police to provide me with their equipment specs.

From my research the New Zealand Police uses stalker gear, Specifically:

Stalker LIDAR LR (EU)
Stalker Dual

Now for Stalker LIDAR the manufacturer claims +/- 2kph. The LIDAR is more accurate than RADAR.

The LIDAR is susceptible to sweeping error. Here is a good demonstration of the sweeping error:

The below is a bit of speculation (until I get facts from NZ Police).

I have made inquires and apparently the NZ Police uses their own software (firmware?) and are “immune” to sweeping errors.
From my programming experience it is not possible to completely make things immune from user abuse, the device is simply unaware of the intention of the user. All they can do is prevent jitter errors (hand shaking), but if the motion is smooth device will unable to differentiate the motion of the vehicle with added motion of the LIDAR tracking+sweeping the vehicle (unless they make it so it only reads out if the device is completely immobile, which makes it impractical).
I have been also told that due to their own software and stringent “ISO17025” calibration they are much more accurate than the manufacturer states. I take it with a grain of salt, as these devices are not calibrated very frequently (apparently once a year), and they do not run atomic clocks in them (or use GPS for time signal). Combined with temperature instability of quartz clock crystal, it is highly unlikely they can be more accurate than what manufacturer states.
I don’t see how it is possible, just by software, to make the temperature dependant device to be by order of magnitude more accurate than those +/-2kph stated by the manufacturer.

Here is a document on clock drift: http://electronicdesign.com/analog/minimize-frequency-drift-crystals

The RADAR units are even more inaccurate (up to +/- 3kph).

#2. Accuracy of the speedometers.

Let me address the white elephant in the room. NZ public has no means of assuring their speedometers are accurate within 1kph.
According to this article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/63849814/GPS-speed-readings-not-accepted ,NZ Police states that GPS units are not admissible in court as accurate speed measuring devices, so the motorists have no means defending themselves from abuse of the NZ Police (be that sweeping of the LIDAR, or keeping old reading from other speeding motorists).

According to VIRM (the WoF manual) section 7-12 states:

The speedometer must be in good working order and operate while the vehicle is moving forward.

There is nothing about accuracy in VIRM manual!!! It could read mph as kph for all they care!

Additionally most of modern cars will not have 5kph marks, as well as they will have 240kph speedometers which makes the needle about 3-4kph wide.

Here is the pic of my speedometer:

sti_speedo

Notice how thick is the speedo needle, the lack of numbers on 10ths (odd are missing) and the complete lack of 5ths. The needle in this example is about 3-4kph wide!

Most of the cars (but NOT all) will over read by about 10% from factory. This can change if different tyre and/or wheel size is used.

My speedometer was about 12% over-reading. This was combination of the factory inaccuracy (~10% over) with actual tyre size difference (even though the tyres were of correct size 245/40R18 the particular tyre, Dunlop LM702, was slightly smaller than average 245/40/R18).

I have compensated the inaccuracy by using different brand of tyres as well as slightly higher side wall (Bridgestone RE002 245/45/R18), now my speedometer over-reads by about 3%.

Just by having new tyre vs old tyre can make about 2% difference:
eg: nominal diameter for 245/40/R18 is 653mm, normally the car tyres have about 8mm worth of thread, providing minimal legal thread is 1.5mm we have 6.5mm variance on each side (so about 13mm total), that is about 2% variance. At 100kph it is 2kph difference already.
Then comes in the inflation (which can add a percent or two)…

#3 Disparity of the readings:

Smart drivers learn to compensate, while oblivious drivers (worst kind) will treat speedometer as 100% accurate and hold up every one at 85-90kph. Due to oblivious drivers considering themselves “safe” and driving at the “speed limit” they will not pull over and let others pass. This creates frustration and provokes the unsafe overtaking. Occasionally the “safe” drivers will also attempt to overtake, but because they stick to the speed limit 100%. they will linger for very long time in oncoming lane as they are afraid to break the speed limit.
Overtaking as fast as possible is the safest option when overtaking (if Police says otherwise they are delusional and/or lying).

#4 Unfairness of speed enforcement.

Police Officers will always have upper hand, for simple fact of they have ability to spend 100% of their concentration on the motorist speed (in case of LIDAR operation) for extended amount of time, or simple speed locking function of the RADAR systems (with audible Doppler feedback). On other hand motorists have to spend 99% of their concentration on the road, and only glance occasionally the speedometer to maintain the speed. It is very difficult to perceive 10% change in speed in a modern vehicle, hence the speed can easily drift up or down.

#5 Glued to the speedometer.

What “no tolerance” creates is already inattentive drivers spending all their effort in maintaining the speed, and paying even less attention to the road. The whole “Speed Kills” propaganda creates false illusion of being safe driver by driving slowly. In addition to that it encourages the “safe” drivers to clog up the roads and not allow for safe passing, as these self-righteous assholes will go out of their way to net let you pass them (ie not pulling into slow vehicle bay). Once you do pass them, they will gesture, honk and flash their lights in anger, even though you haven’t cut them off, or broke the law in anyway (just safely passed them).

#6 If it is not a target, what is it then?

Because of no tolerance, with combined speedometer over-reading and drivers being overcautious about the speed, the actual speed limit becomes 10 to 20kph less than posted, even though it is safe to drive at the speed limit. One of the parts of the “Speed Kills” campaign is “Speed Limit is not a Target” campaign.
In reality it is a target and always will be. The speed limit posted, is just an arbitrary limit anyway, without much of scientific backing on what actual limit can be.
For example the stretch between Warkworth and Welsford (SH1) has 80kph limit, what I fund extremely funny (if not sad) is that the gravel roads that connect to that stretch of highway have 100kph limit on them. This is insane!.
For example:

View Larger Map
or this:

View Larger Map
There plenty more like that.

The fact that extremely dangerous gravel road has 100kph while very safe paved highway has 80kph removes all the confidence of the posted limits.

#7 Passing lane [lack of] culture

NZ motorists have a really bad habit on passing lanes: accelerate by 20kph even if you have no intention going that fast once the passing lane is over. This is a mentality issue. It is a very common sight where a motorist previously holding up another 5-10 vehicles behind it, driving along a highway at 80kph, accelerates to 105kph when passing lane comes, making it impossible to pass them legally. Then at the end of passing lane they drop their speed back to 80kph. If that does not happen, some muppet in their 4×4 pulls out to pass only to struggle going uphill and ending up blocking the passing lane. The only way to deal with this is to pass them outside of passing lanes and ignore passing lanes entirely as there are cops at the end of them anyway waiting for you to go over 1kph over speed limit.

#8 Unsafe enforcement of no tolerance

The no-tolerance allows police officers to stop infringing motorists for going over 1kph. Guess how police officer enforces such “law”? By doing dangerous U-turn across passing lanes, speeding up to well over the speed limit (how else they will catch them?), cross over the double yellow line multiple times, force whole bunch of motorists into shoulder and then pulling over the “offender” in an unsafe spot. And it is ll for what? Maybe 5kph over the limit? I have witnessed way too many events like that.
I drive a fast car, and some cops get out of the way to stalking me, waiting for me to make a mistake. Such a waste of Police resources. Good luck getting such treatment when you are burglarised.

#9 Insane delusion of the success of “Speed Kills” campaign.

Speed Kills campaign is a complete utter failure.
Here is the proof:
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/road-deaths/toll.html

 

Local Government Region 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Northland
22
7
17
20
14
Auckland
52
50
41
48
37
Waikato
66
64
64
31
46
Bay of Plenty
37
17
23
18
29
Gisborne & Hawkes Bay
23
17
30
10
19
Taranaki
11
8
17
7
11
Manawatu / Wanganui
40
27
27
13
34
Wellington
10
11
11
17
12
Nelson / Marlborough
24
8
9
9
7
West Coast
7
7
7
9
7
Canterbury
48
32
32
49
35
Otago
17
14
16
14
19
Southland
12
7
6
1
11
Total
369 
269 
300 
246 
281  

If campaign would work we should see at least 50% reduction of the road toll.
Apart from weather related variation, there is no change.
There should be change regardless of the campaign due to cars getting safer and safer by the year.
The biggest increase should have followed the restriction of the imports due to emissions (forces importers to import newer cars).
In fact that this season’s road toll is approaching 300, suggest that the campaign failed.
Probably global climate change had better effect than anything else.

As far as I am concerned the “Speed Kills” campaign is a tool for blatant political career advance for people in charge of it. There absolutely no evidence of it working at all.

Another article that makes my blood boil is this:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/64512444/speed-kills-warn-police-as-road-toll-mounts

The NZ Police attributes all of the incidents in article to speed, in reality it could not be far from truth:

A man was killed in the Eastern Bay of Plenty when the car he was travelling in collided with a milk tanker at the intersection of SH2 and Wilson Rd near Paengaroa.

If you collide with the tanker which travels at 90kph no matter what you speed travel at you are dead. You could as well be stationary.
Other two incidents in the article are also head-on colissions. Nothing to do with the speed.

Then they go off the tangent of some muppet doing 240kph on Waikato expressway.
While driving at that speed on public road is a very stupid thing to do, they give impressions that it will take 450m for some one to stop.
The rule of thumb every doubling of speed quadruples the stopping distance (simple physics really).
The modern car will stop from 100kph in less than 40m (my car can do that just a tad over 30m).
Lets take safe 50m stopping distance and for 200kph it makes 200m. So from 240kph it should be around 220m, not 450m.
The whole 240kph suggests that the car is not a simple 20yo Camry, as it requires over 300HP to get there.

Here comes figures pulled out of their asses:

Fatal crashes decreased by 22 per cent over the summer campaign. Serious injury crashes decreased by 8 per cent

How about attributing this to safe cars (even though the figures do not match what is on nzta website)?

This all nice until we get to this gem:

Grace said generally speed was a factor in all crashes and when most think about speed, they think about being in excess of the limits but often that is not the case.

“Often we are just driving at a speed that is not suited to our driving ability or the car we are in or the conditions [of the road],” she said.

“The speed limit is the speed limit but sometimes we have to look at the road.”

So the speeding campaign has nothing to do with speeding?
How stupid she thinks people are?
Speed is a factor in all crashes, because …. something has to be moving to crash!
Then in moment of clarity she hit nail on the head: “Often we are just driving at a speed that is not suited to our driving ability or the car we are in or the conditions” , well no shit Sherlock, guess why is that? Instead of focusing on one aspect, the NZ Police and NZTA should have been focusing on driver training!
Then moment of clarity disappeared in thick fog of delusion: “The speed limit is the speed limit but sometimes we have to look at the road.”, well yes, this is true (but not in the context) and this is why we should not have no-tolerance, as we actually have to look at the road (and not speedometer!).

The whole stopping distance brings into the light of the speeding kills idiocy as well, for example driving @ 120kph in my car is far safer than driving @ 90kph in a 20yo Holden Commodore.

1) 20yo Holden will have under-performing brakes. I can stop in less than 35m, while the Holden will stop in double of that.
2) 20yo Holden will have none of the safety options (stability control, abs, air bags).
3) 20yo Holden will be a death trap if it crashed against my car (5 star rated cars tend to obliterate older cars in head-on collisions: volvo 940 vs renault modus).
4) Tyres will probably be substandard on an older car, as no way the owners will spend $2500 on new good performing tyres.

Here is my opinion on how to address road toll

1) Compulsory minimum time spent with qualified instructor before getting restricted licence.
I have seen way too many people picking up bad habits from their parents when they teach them how to drive.
I bet almost none of the parents teach their kids how to handle the car in emergency (out of control scenarios), as they themselves do not know how. The compulsory driver training will allow instructor to correct bad habits, before they become a problem. This is not too expensive (10 hours, of training is about $400-$600).

2) Compulsory handling training (on the wet car park/track, and on open road).
Most of city dwellers never learn how to handle the car until too late (ie they go on Holiday and crash). The New Zealand terrain posses a difficulty of a driver that only dealt with Auckland streets and motorways. They never learned how to approach a corner, braking points, and how to handle when they hit a slippery spot. The time on track or even wet carpark is not too expensive, eg: trackdays cost about $100 per evening, so it is in realms of reach for most of people. If government organises such training then it should be even cheaper.

3) Re-licence road test every 10 or 20 years.
This will filter out drivers that fell through the seams of the old system, forcing them to resit the test to make sure they are capable of driving.

4) Open road handling test as part of full licence test.
Ability to drive on twisty open roads must a part of licence test, people should not be driving in New Zealand if they cannot handle New Zealand roads.

5) Focusing on other traffic offences (beyond speeding).
There is too much focus on the speeding, while tailgaters, corner cutters, slow drivers and red-light runners are running wild.
The whole Auckland traffic problem is because of people not leaving enough distance between cars!

6) Enforcement of keep left rule.
Change the road code so the drivers lingering in right lanes can be fined.

The whole driving culture in NZ is in shambles, because of lack of public transport people who are lethargic about driving are driving, and making fatal mistakes. It is way too easy to get a driver licence in NZ as well.

P.S. for the slow people saying “why don’t you just drive slower?”, why don’t you just take a bus and stay off the road?