Zero tolerance on speed and lower booze limit have worked a treat haven’t they?

The road toll is already the same this holiday period as it was for the whole of the holiday period last year….and there is still 7 days to go.

The Police went all in on their focus on speed and have lost the trust of the motorist in the process.

Now with the dual focus appearing to have failed questions must now be asked as to why the Police are focussing so heavily on speed when the holiday toll is now higher, and the over all toll is some 50 people higher than last year.

Fairfax reports:

The North Canterbury road toll has climbed to three today after a woman died when a car and truck collided in Greta Valley.

Police said an elderly occupant of the car was killed and a child had been taken to hospital after a crash at about 4.30pm today.

Details of how the crash happened were not being released.

The death is the third on North Canterbury roads this holiday season. A 56-year-old motorcyclist was killed near Culverden on Sunday morning, and Jamie Shane Webb, 25, was killed when he was electrocuted after a crash near Glentui on Saturday.

With seven days to go until the holiday period is over, the national road toll is now at seven.

It appears too that none of the accidents causing death have involved speed, and are the result of carelessness or foreigners. One foreigner has been charged with careless use of a motor vehicle.

NZ Herald reports:

A German man has been charged over a fatal crash involving two groups of foreign drivers in Southland on Boxing Day.

The 43-year-old man has been charged with careless use causing death and two charges of careless use causing injury.

He would appear in Invercargill District Court tomorrow, police said.

With improving roads, vehicles with crumple zones, side intrusion beams and multiple airbags I suspect we are at a natural level of road toll, that will fluctuate somewhere between 250 and 350 people per annum. Which given the distances people travel, and the number of cars on the road for a population our size would seem about right.

You will never have a zero road toll. The focus now should be on driver training and improving roads and road surfaces.

At the moment the road toll stands at seven but with fine weather over most of the country the police can’t even blame conditions. That is all about to change though with expected bad weather and after several weeks of fine weather the roads are going to be extremely greasy and dangerous.

Setting up speed cameras at the end of passing lanes, or on the Northern motorway between Takapuna and Silverdale is simply revenue gathering.

Likewise Police sitting at the ends of passing lanes. All they are doing is preventing people from using the road as the designers intended.

They’d be better off increasing drink driving stops and pulling over caravans and boats with long streams of hot and frustrated drivers behind them.


– Fairfax, NZ Herald



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  • Korau

    “You will never have a zero road toll.”

    There is a solution which would also solve the unemployment problem overnight.

    It’s called the “Red Flag” law.

    • Michael

      You’ll still get some elder who falls over on an uneven bit of footpath, break their hip and cark it.

  • HSV325

    A mandatory driving theory test at the rental car pick up and a practical test for hirers of campervans should be the minimum for tourist drivers in NZ. Rental companies could easily recover the cost as a foreign driver levy for the admin involved.

    • Carl

      Would that include Aussie Tourists?

      • HSV325

        Good point.

    • steve and monique

      Just put them on buses. God save NZ from the menace that is camper vans driven by tourists.

    • ex-JAFA

      To whose benefit? Why would a rental company want to turn down an opportunity to take someone’s money? As long as the rental company’s insurer’s requirements are met (i.e. the renter has a valid licence), they have no further obligation – and I’m sure that’s just fine with them.

  • Tom

    I got a ticket yesterday, 99kmh in a 90kmh limit, in a passing lane. I’d been behind this pillock doing 75 for ages, course he speeds up in the passing area…

    The only near miss on the drive was further up the coromandel when an Audi Q7 towing a boat coming the other way decided to cross over to my side of the road to pass some Lycra clad muppets who were cycling in a 100 kmh area. Lots of swearing as I just squeaked past with my left side wheels in the gravel on the side of the road.

    • Ratchette

      Ticked in a passing lane, I call that blatant revenue gathering. I agree about lycra louts, they should be banned from some very busy roads and be compelled to use cycling lanes wherever provided.

    • SJ00

      I swear people drive slow on purpose and then speed up during passing opportunities. Alot of people seem to think they are informal traffic police by controlling how others drive.. making everyone drive slowly behind them.

      • It is not as evil as that. Studies show that nervous drivers slow down on single lanes and when the road widens at passing lanes they feel more secure so their speed increases. It is still incredibly annoying even if you know the psychological reasoning behind why it mostly happens.

    • Damon Mudgway

      The sad irony here is that there used to be case law allowing a slight excess of the speed limit to pass safely. Common sense really. JP’s who now preside over defended speeding infringements have been told by the bench to ascertain now in simple terms if the posted speed limit was breached. No other factors come into it.

      • johcar

        It might be interesting to discover the reasoning behind that change. I suspect it was to take the human factor out of the”common sense” determination….

      • Cadwallader

        One of the police promos was “drive to the conditions” isn’t a passing lane a condition?

    • Vaughan

      Of course in that instance, Tom the Audi driver was in the wrong. He shouldn’t have passed until you’d been through. Let’s not forget cycling is legal.

  • papagaya

    The toll is up partly because petrol is cheaper, so more people have been on the roads this holiday season.

    • HSV325

      Or the economy is booming under a National government and people have more money to spend on petrol

      • Damon Mudgway

        Ergo, the road toll is John Keys fault. Poor JK, he never gets a break does he?

  • sheppy

    If you gauge road safety by how much revenue has been raised it’ll be a success in their eyes. AND despite the official road toll measurement period ending just after New Years they are keeping the zero tolerance up until the end of January.
    This is 2 months of revenue raising which is very sad when it could have been 2 months of road safety improvements.

  • steve and monique

    Sorry guys, but the limit is the limit, plus 4 kph( Holidays), or 10 kph. Over that, and you get pinged. Took me a couple of tickets to work out, that staying at, or very near limit saves hassles. One thing that is missing on the roads now is courtesy. Used to be you pulled over, and let others pass when going slower then everyone else. Patience also missing. So instead of filling police coffers, stick to the posted, and reduce their income. As for the road toll, well mistakes will always happen, and dumb ones will keep the toll at its current levels.

    • Steve – I agree that the limit is the limit, but pedantic ticketing a few kph over the limit when someone is overtaking on a passing lane will just undermine respect and confidence in the Police from otherwise law abiding people.

      • steve and monique


    • pisces8284 .

      There is no ‘plus 4 kph (Holidays)’ though. It’s 1 kph over and you are done. Too easy to go over so you end up driving at 95 kph to be safe. It’s just dumb dumb dumb

      • steve and monique

        Heard they shelved 1 kph over, and resorted to 4 kph.

        • pisces8284 .

          I can’t find anywhere where they definitely say that, but you could be right. It seems deliberately vague

          • steve and monique

            Guess it makes people think. Mind you wont trust my luck with testing it out.

    • I used to make regular donations then woke up to the fact that restrictions are here to stay and there is not a lot of point whining about them, haven’t made one for a couple of years now.

  • Andy

    I guess everyone calling for driving test for tourist wouldn’t have a problem doing the same when going overseas?

  • Chris EM

    Those of us who live in the real world knew from the start, that zero tolerance on speed would have absolutely no effect on the road toll.
    All it does is lower respect the public have for the traffic police/tax collectors.

    • Cadwallader

      Not to forget the Blenheim alcoholic doctor who escaped a conviction for drunk driving. Consistency?

      • Pharmachick

        Ahhh, but was she speeding? Also, she’s not currently registered in the US (hmmm, interesting – wonder why) nor here. So “Dr” is currently a courtesy title by view of the fact she has an MD from a US university.

  • cows4me

    The real blame should be laid at the feet of the money grubbing politicians who stand to make the most out of the present situation. The fines don’t go into the cops pockets but into the general slush fund. I wonder if their is any consequence that Bill English promised before the election he would balance the books, of course the best laid plans of mice and man will always go awry and Bill’s books started to look rather dodgy. The cops then come out with their new ridiculous money making fines. These fines smack more of a government having to find more and more pitiful ways to take wealth off the peasants to keep the house of cards standing.

    • Kendall

      It was my understanding the police find do go back to the police (unlike any other govt department where it goes to treasury). But I could be wrong.

      • Damon Mudgway

        Nope, all fines go back to govt coffers. The Police don’t keep a bean.

        • Kendall

          Right. So why are they so focused on revenue gathering. Treasury must keep the fines derived from certain activities grouped in CC where they can say well do, and vote police goes up at next budget round.

          • Damon Mudgway

            The simple answer is this:
            One third of Police budget comes from the LTSA. The LTSA require Police to deliver outputs so they can see their budget is being used to deliver road safety, both in education and enforcement. The Police have banged on for years about there being no quota for individual officers. Well I can tell you there absolutely is a performance based quota in place for cops linked directly to the amount of infringements issued in a allocated time period. If an individual officer fails to deliver said infringements it becomes a performance issue which can be detrimental to pay increments and career aspirations.

            How do I know all this? Because I was one of those officers. As my discretion was slowly being eroded away I asked myself who my real paymaster was. The answer to me was obvious: The taxpayer.

            Not some Police boss worried about their bonus (linked to delivering said targets for the LTSA by the way), and certainly NOT the Govt of the day.

          • srylands

            The LTSA was abolished several years ago.

          • Damon Mudgway

            Sorry, I should have said NZTA. Cheers.

        • caochladh

          Yes, it all goes into the aptly named “Consolidated Fund”.

          • Damon Mudgway

            The same fund that was created to gather revenue.

            Hmmmm….revenue gathering. Funny that.

  • Frosty78

    It’s almost a game now, when you travel long distance from A to G…try to get there as quickly as possible, avoiding pedantic revenue gaining police , battling the slow inconsiderate drivers & lycra clad road maggots, all the while maintaining your own sanity whilst trying to appease tired ‘over it’ children in the back seat. First world problems I know……as long as the destination is worth it!

  • Ratchette

    A limited period campaign is a joke. It is an easy option to show something is being ‘done’
    To improve driving standard takes hard work and is ongoing. The first step should be to ensure that whoever is behind the steering wheel has a valid license.
    I overheard a conversation by a group of people talking about New Zealand driving licenses (these people tend to talk loudly & have shrill voices) The message was that good (fake) licenses can be arranged very easily.
    Whenever I have been asked for my license the officer looks at the photo, ‘thank you, have a nice day’

    Perhaps it’s about time the police were tasked to check the validity of driving licenses and get unlicensed drivers off the road. Confiscate the car and prosecute the offender.
    Too hard ? I suppose it is !

  • Ratchette

    Another road pest is BMW drivers. Four wheels over the line at traffic lights, slipstreaming, speeding. What is it with these guys ?

    • dgrogan

      The Ultimate Driving Machine – have they bought the spin?

      • Ratchette

        Gotcha. Never fail.

    • Damon Mudgway

      Actually the most hated drivers (in Europe anyway) are AUDI drivers.

      Like white is the new black, Audi is the new BMW.

      • dgrogan

        Vorsprung durch Technik. I bought that spin…twice. I’m obviously a slow learner. These days I drive a Suzuki Swift occasionally. Cost per klm is a bit more manageable.

    • Hedgehog

      Yep, had one for a couple of years – loved it, but the maintenance cost was horrendous. I now do the same thing in a Honda :)

    • sheppy

      The car that rear ended another and stuffed the Auckland Harbour bridge up a couple of days ago was a BMW. I thanked him under my breath for taking 2 hours off my holiday

    • Will Travers

      Has there been any vote to cal the 3rd (fastest/overtaking) lane on the motorway the BMW lane, they certainly seem to think they own it.

  • dgrogan

    Anyone aware of any stats. around on number of vehicles on the roads over these holidays? With lower fuel prices, is the number likely to have increased – and therefore the number of accidents to climb in relation to that increase?

    • I.M Bach

      That is quite likely and added to that I have heard that kiwis are choosing to holiday more on home turf than (say) make the trek across the Tasman or flock to the Pacific Islands. There are so many variables.

  • Bert Piepoint

    I’m sure it has been said before, but one of our main problems is driving attitude. If anyone here has spent time driving on European and British roads you will know that the whole attitude is different. It’s not a competition, other drivers are courteous, if I want to go faster than the car in front, they will move and not begrudgingly. We do not have driver maturity.

    • JMC7

      True in Europe but not, sadly, in the UK. I’ve just returned after 25 years over there and can tell you that the rose-tinted memories of many people about the quality of British driving is simply not borne out by experience. In general UK drivers are no better in skill or attitude than Kiwi drivers, and the UK’s worst are breathtakingly bad. And you never see a cop on the road, everything is done by remote camera.

      Germany however, with its unrestricted limits and all, is an absolute pleasure to drive in. High skill levels, courtesy, terrific lane etiquette ( everybody moves as far right as possible, but they all move one lane to the left at onramps to allow people to enter safely), restrictions on heavy trucks at weekends, and a police service focussed on keeping traffic moving as efficiently as possible make travelling by road safe and fast.

      • Pharmachick

        The German driving education is out of this world – it takes, literally years and makes great drivers. Including lessons on driving psychology.

    • Cremster

      I was in Mexico earlier this year – they are very courteous on the roads there. No-one honks or cuts you off.

      Apparently those that used to found out the hard way what happens when you’re rude to the wrong driver…

  • Michael_l_c

    Most fatal crashes occur in rural areas & during this holiday period, as a result turning or overtaking particularly in front of big trucks. Maybe police efforts should be re allocated to these areas. Move the city traffic police about 100k out and the staff from there furthur out.
    Naah, it would require some thought. Also wouldn’t bring in the money and would be an admission of failure of a poorly thought out policy, but might save some lives.

    Over the last 15 years NZ Police have been using the Australian policing model to address issues in NZ. The ozzies had success clamping particularly on speed. Doesn’t seem to work here. Maybe things are different?
    Did the research involve trips to OZ & here for the Ozzies? Yes & yes.

  • grumpy

    As a boat owner, I am looking forward to towing the boat to the Sounds with dread. I can easily tow at 100km/hr anywhere with the Landcruiser but with the zero tolerance, I am stuck to 90. Large trucks seem to be immune from speed restrictions as most travel at 100-110 on the road between Christchurch and Picton. As the only people on the road who are strictly forbidden to travel with the flow of traffic, boat and trailer owners face a hard call of when to pull over to allow following cars (and trucks) to pass safely due to the severe lack of passing lanes. The sudden crush of merging overtaking traffic at the end of passing lanes is another danger.
    Time to have a decent look at speed restrictions in this country. It seems the Police are quite happy to force us into dangerous situations for the sake of revenue gathering.

    • Wallace Westland

      The solution if I may be so bold is to introduce a license for towing a trailer same as for a truck. Graduated to different weights etc. and raise the speed limit to 100k for all. (The lower speed limit for trucks is ludicrous, the drivers of T & T units are highly trained and skilled these days..mostly anyway.

      It is one thing to tow a garden trailer quite the other to tow a large boat with with an independent trailer braking system. There are specific skills required to anticipate corners, braking times use of gears going downhill etc.

      I’m not usually a fan of increased regulation but the truth is I see many people towing that clearly probably shouldn’t be on the road in the first place.

      • grumpy

        Towing at 90k with a tandem independently braked boat trailer behind the V8 Landcruiser is a pain. Only a year ago, I could easily keep up with the flow of traffic at 100k anywhere. I have never been stopped by a cop but have passed plenty. To now be forced to lower my speed causes queues to back up behind me, bugger all safe places to pull over to let them pass and quite a few trying to pass in dangerous places through impatience or frustration.
        Is this really what the cops want? I bet they don’t enforce the limit on trucks though, turning a blind eye to their 100k speed limit. I can see the situation arising where a truck and trailer will try and pass because, although we are both theoretically restricted to 90k, I am enforced strictly and he is ignored.

  • johcar

    Do any other countries use the road toll as a bludgeon to beat motorists up every public holiday? It’s a long time now since I lived in the UK, but I don’t recall the road toll there as anything but an ‘interesting’ statistic…

    I have long been of the opinion that there is no such thing as a zero toll – as long as you have humans (or a reasonable thereof) driving motor vehicles, no matter what the speed limit is, there will be deaths.

    Suck it up, treat it as a fact of life, and move on…

    • Wallace Westland

      Yep and before that they fell of horses and died too.
      The continued howl of sanctimonious outrage that “if it saves one life” is a load of rubbish.
      There is more to life than being wrapped up in cotton wool by the luvies that know best for us all.
      These people are constantly eroding our personal freedoms all in the name of saving lives. Life is meant to be lived.(Within reason of course)

  • andrewo

    You see, the laws of physics are different in NZ. Here we instantly become a danger to society at 100kph but in Aussie we only become hazardous at 110kph, except northern territories where 130kph is needed to become a menace to others. Go to Austria and you’ll see 130kph as the limit on autobahns and in Britain it’s 70mph (but if you stick to that you’ll overtaken by intercity buses).

    Let’s face it: Cops are generally people who didn’t fare so well in science class. It’s high time some rational thinking and science was applied to road safety.

  • SkeptiK

    You are following a car doing 95, slowing to 80 for the slight bends. You come to a passing lane and now he feels somehow obliged to speed up to 100. Do you?
    A Overtake in the passing lane at 110, risking a ticket
    B Wait until he slows for the next gradual bend and overtake then, at 90, but maybe without 100% certainty that you can see far enough ahead.
    C Wait patiently for him to pull over and let you pass – he will probably stop for a break in an hour or so.

    If your answer is C, are you surprised when some frustrated driver pulls out and blasts past the chain of 6 slow cars at 140?

    • andrewo

      My (admittedly out of date) experience of the UK is that there is leniency regarding speeding whilst overtaking in that country. It is sometimes safer to exceed the limit whilst overtaking in order to reduce your exposure to oncoming traffic. So when you’re going past that milk tanker on the NZ B road – put your foot to the floor to get by!

      • SkeptiK

        There is a lot to like about driving in Europe. Also North America has some interesting rules.

        • Pharmachick

          Oh yes, my favorite NA road rule is the “free right turn on red light after giving way” rule … IMHO this is America’s greatest contribution to the modern world.

          • SkeptiK

            Yes. That one would be particularly useful in Auckland as one can seldom make the left turn on a green because of the stupid red arrow (in case the invisible man is crossing – the guy that pushed the button crossed a while ago).

            I also love the “4 way give way” – it sounds chaotic but it works well and promotes courtesy!

          • Pharmachick

            The 4-way stop would never work in NZ – I have already commented on this above, but basically … works great in the US (where I lived for over a dozen years), and almost-great in Canada (where I live now, but everyone is like “Oh, noooo, sorry, you go eh” (only sort-of joking) so the 4-way stop becomes less efficient in Canada because of politeness. In NZ – total disaster as the berks would just assume they had right of way… and there’s too many berks.

          • SkeptiK

            My theory is that there are too many berks partly because we have this nanny state approach to road rules where the focus is on what’s legal not what’s safe and courteous.

      • benniedawg

        I have held my license for some 45 years now. I distinctly remember, as do many of my peers, being taught to complete passing as quickly and safely as possible. Wonder what ever happened to that mantra. Oh, I forgot, collecting revenue at the end of passing lanes saw that one nicely to bed.

  • Hedgehog

    I’ts all about PR, stats and performance management. Common sense, practical application and work ability don’t get a look in. They should “can” the millions spent each year on PR. I especially hate the ad that the “speeding driver” is at fault when the idiot driver pulls out in font of him and blames him for the accident. Take those millions and fund driver training. Then change the focus from speeding competent drivers to the imbeciles who are a danger to everyone else and them selves. Rather than dishing out the fines, dish out 1 day must attend courses. Get caught a couple of times being incompetent on the road, and get suspended, till you attend a driver training course. The focus is on Road safety, not revenue generation for the government.

    • Whitey

      That ad really grinds my gears too. All it does is tell idiots that they’re not responsible for checking there’s no traffic coming before they pull out of intersections. I’ve seen a lot of this lately, and I blame that ad.

  • Sailor Sam

    The police are not socially at the same level as used car and insurance salesmen, politicians and email hackers.
    Despised scum.

    • Hedgehog

      I’d actually put journalists at the top of the Despised scum list.

      • Damon Mudgway

        Cam’s now a journalist. Cool aye?

        • FredFrog

          Toxic left-wing journos are at the top of the Despised scum list.

          There, happy now?

      • jcpry

        My family circle includes three journalists and a policeman. I can assure you none of them are scum and as with many occupations most are not. Personally I think comments such as yours are pretty inane and contribute nothing.

        • Sailor Sam

          Wait till your friend the cop books you for being over the speed limit by just 1 km. if he lets you go it is corruption.

          • jcpry

            And the same applies to your comment – inane. Btw he is my brother so your insinuation that he could be corrupted is an insult as well as highly unlikely.

  • metalnwood

    There is only one factor at work every year that has an impact on the road toll more than anything else. Luck. Plain and simple. Speed plays a minor role on the travel of millions of cars compared to straight out luck that people get or dont get in difficult situations.

    • Cadwallader

      I think in NZ the weather plays a part on the open roads too .

      • metalnwood

        Absolutely, I probably stated it a bit simply but what I was meaning was that is you go on any long trip in the holidays you will see many guys doing things, usually overtaking that is risky and it wouldnt matter if they did it at 99,100, 101 or 120km. You often see things and think he was lucky. Lucky there didnt happen to be anything behind that corner, lucky he didn’t spin on the wet road. Whatever the situation.

        There are always guys on the roads that are idiots and risky but it often comes down to dumb luck that something which is always stupid to do makes them pay the ultimate price on any particular day. Something they have done 100 times didnt work on the day.

  • Captain Darling

    I totally agree, this obsession with speed is embarrassing. They’ve nailed that particular flag to the mast, now it will be interesting to see how they spin this toll when speed does not appear to be a factor in most of these accidents.

    • SkeptiK

      My guess is that they will call for a redoubling of efforts – more cops with radars, more cameras, lower speeds, lower speed tolerances, lower alchohol limits, more tickets. Not that it’s about the money though.

    • ex-JAFA

      They’ll say how much worse it could/would have been if they hadn’t been so harsh on speeding.

    • Rightsideofthebed

      I note that the new noises coming out of the Ivory Tower seem to be going away from the speed speed speed mantra…

  • Not Michael Wood

    Its all about the money.

    Most of the tickets are issued in urban areas most of the deaths are in rural areas.

    The new drink driving limits are a joke and you are not allowed to request a blood test. Breath tests are influenced by a number of factors like medication and when you had your last drink and at best are only an indication.

    The road toll has dropped because Cars are safer, road are better constructed, drivers are better skilled, speed is only one of many factors along with road conditions, stupidity the list goes on and on.

    The Police assigned to traffic duties are 2nd rate Muppets.

    • Cadwallader

      Agree we are seeing the IRD on wheels in action yet again! Sad eh?

  • Kimbo

    I see that whilst these highly trained law enforcement professionals are sitting on the side of the road playing with lasers half the nation is being beaten to death in their houses or on the streets. Are we at Murder A Day yet ?

  • Ashley

    I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been staying in Auckland these holidays. With everyone’s speedo overreading, nobody wanting to get over 50 km/h the average driving speed through Grey Lynn has been about 40. I very rarely pass people in the city but…

    • metalnwood

      I have just hunkered down and stayed at home. Watching a fair bit of cricket etc.

      I can say that on the 5 minute trip to the supermarket that I have done three times I have seen someone getting a ticket _every_ trip..

      • SkeptiK

        Wow. So they are dealing with the holiday road toll by ticketing people going about their normal everyday business around town in the 50 areas. I can’t see how that will help.

        • damm good thrashing

          It won’t but it does generate income.

  • taurangaruru

    “I suspect we are at a natural level of road toll”
    There are plenty of drivers that manage to avoid a “major” collision in their lifetimes – proves it can be done but you will find those drivers are the ones that pay attention to what they are doing. The point is if everyone paid attention & treated driving with the respect it requires the road toll could be a lot lower. Once again we legislate for the lowest common denominator in NZ & everyone pays the price.

  • axeman

    Every time you jump into a vehicle or a bike you put your life in danger, you trust that the person coming towards you is paying attention and obeys the road rules and keeps left. We have Police to enforce these rules, should the rules be broken and you are found to broken then you are dealt with through the courts. So all we have to do is make the penalty fit the crime, so if you drink and drive and kill someone as a result, it is not manslaughter, it is murder. You have made a bad decision under the influence and driven, had an accident and killed someone, Murder plain and simple put in jail for 8-10 years non parole. Then you would find that the number of drink drivers would drop.
    If you are caught speeding but no accident then just a fine for breaking the rules, but if you have an accident from speeding and kill someone then the same applies as it does to drink driving, charged with murder. The point is you have made that decision to speed or drink and then drive. You are responsible and will be held to account.
    In regard to the speed limit and this ridiculous 1km over and they will pull you over what utter rubbish. Whoever came up with this should be fired on the spot. Studies I’m sure will back me up it is the flow of traffic that dictates safety. Traffic flowing equals content drivers. Better roads will helps with more passing lanes, particularly for roads out of the Auckland region. Pull over and ticket slow divers with the same aggressive stance as they do the speeders, then the police will gain some credibility

  • ex-JAFA

    On Boxing Day evening, a car tried to take out my car full of politicians and staffers. The other driver pulled out of a driveway 20m ahead of me, so I had to brake sharply. A few hundred metres later was a roundabout – they indicated right and used the right lane, so I was about to turn left in the left lane when the other driver suddenly changed their mind and cut me off. At a T intersection another hundred metres or so up the road, they again indicated right as I wanted to turn left. I knew by now not to trust them, so kept my eyes peeled. They turned right, but on the wrong side of the road and immediately did a U-turn to head back the way they’d come.

    • Old Man, Torbay.

      The police are also responsible for the chaos at roundabouts having changed the method of signaling some years back.
      With the police version of how to signal we now have many drivers, as in JAFA’s example, signaling left before they reach the roundabout then giving a one second flash each for right and left again (this of course for going straight through). Result is multiple confusion whether following or going in the opposite direction.
      In theory, one is supposed to signal 3 seconds before a change of direction. If police decide to collect revenue at roundabouts the traffic will be down to a crawl. Welcome to gridlock.

      • Dan

        In my experience, most drivers signal incorrectly (or not at all) at roundabouts. But the rules are clear and are easy to understand:

        Note: “At some small roundabouts it may not be possible to give three seconds warning, but it is courteous to give as much indication as you can.”

        It’s not that hard. It’s our drivers, not the rules, that cause the confusion.

        It wouldn’t be difficult to make mandatory (re)education a requirement for drivers who commit signalling/give-way related offences? In fact, a successful re-sit of the road code theory test could be used in lieu of a fine. It would surely be much more effective at improving road safety in the long term.

    • Pharmachick

      Does *555 still exist in NZ? (Sorry but I’ve been gone a while).

  • JMC7

    The real issue for me is that these (in)tolerances of 1 or even 4km/h can’t be judged instinctively. Sitting in the driver’s seat I can tell the difference between 100km/h and 115km/h just by the virtual motion of objects on the side of the road. But I can’t tell the difference between 98km/h and 102km/h, or between 48km/h and 52km/h for that matter, without looking at my speedo. And every time I do that I take my eyes off the road. What exactly is more dangerous, constantly taking my eyes off the road for fear of running foul of the letter of the law, or inadvertently doing a few km/h over the limit?

  • kiwiinamerica

    NZ is obsessed with the road toll. In no other country I have visited or lived in does the media devote so much time and space to the holiday road toll. They are arbitrary time periods in any event – the overall annual toll and its trends are much more relevant and perfectly in order to report. When one considers the growth in NZ’s population and the growth in the size of the vehicle fleet, NZ’s road toll has plummeted. But I think the police have got most of the low hanging fruit and, as Cam says, improving vehicle technology has been one of the largest contributor to lives saved. I’m all in favour of pursuing drunk driving as that too is low hanging fruit but this obsession with speed is stupid. In the western US, speed limits are not only higher but the tolerance above which you tend to get ticketed is higher again making average in-city motorway speeds of 75mph/120km/h+ and open road motorway speeds of 85mph/135km/h. Speed related deaths are little different from NZ.

    • Steve

      The public aren’t obsessed but the government agency , The Police, is…They have an extremely generous marketing budget to sell their pet product, Speed.The budget is justified because of the revenue it brings. The revenue is gathered because of technology. The speed of a moving vehicle is one aspect of driving that is detectable, in most cases undeniable, and the result is money.
      That it is it in a nutshell.
      Speed does not kill. ( most of the time) It is collisions that kill. And you can’t have a collision unless one vehicle is in the wrong place. Dosen’t happen, never will. The problem is, Collision is a crap product. You can’t sell it. You can’t sell it because you can’t enforce it with technology, and therefore you can’t gain a revenue stream from it. No revenue stream means no marketing budget so there will never be any obsession with the truth….Collisions kill, Not speed.

  • dgrogan

    I think our accident stats. could be greatly improved by our following the Australian example in road building. In Aussie, they seem to make a good job of separating double lanes of oncoming traffic, especially on their coastal highways. We are starting to do this more (for example, on the Auckland/Hamilton route) but not nearly enough.

    • axeman

      Also more passing lanes for roads outside the main centres.

  • seismac

    The cardboard brain of the traffic police is the fault—- no speeding and no drinking
    My solution is this –all motorists with a blemish free license gets a special mark in the license which allows 10 speeding tickets and 5 drink driving ticket each year for no cost
    I also suggest that once over 50 you are too clever to get a ticket for causing an accident while driving home from the golf club or pub as opposed to young fellows

  • Bruce Rayner

    I agree with Cameron’s writing, especially the target caravan and boaties on the road, but hey what about road maggots – mobile homes – especially those travelling in convoy.
    Now these people are not always at fault. for many years I travelled much of the Nth Is towing large loads, mostly business realted, plus my rather big boat on my days off.
    I had a tow vehicle capable of keeping up with the flow but restricted to 90kmh. I drove on the rear view mirror and whenever I saw vehicles behind me first oppoprtunity the road allowed would pull over to allow room and indicate “pass me”.
    and guess what? frequently the vehicle immediatly behind would pull out and sit there, when i could see I was going to run out of ‘kerbside road” would indicate I am now pulling back into the road proper, and the guy directly behind me would then decide to boot it and try and pass.
    If I was the cop [I was once] I would also stop the 1st behind and have a 3 way discussion of the situation.
    How often do we see this? I say far too much and is time to start looking at the real culprat, not just the one in front.

    • Albert Lane

      I do like your description of them as “culprats” It covers all the options.

  • KGB

    Don’t forget horse floats being towed around the country at 60-70. (My personal hate)

    • Albert Lane

      New Zealand roads commonly have plenty of room on the verge for slow traffic to pull over to allow other traffic to pass. But if you observe slow drivers, they never, ever pull over. We need an education program. We need proper policing to pull them over and ticket them. But sadly, both needs are missing.

  • armotur

    I agree with the writing here. The Stupid speeding tolerance promotion has been a poorly thought out idea. It is a major fail and the public’s opinion of Police has been sadly diminished by the idiotic ploy.

    I doubt that many will actually be ticketed for speeding if they are over the limit by a 4km or so. The Policeman on the road is probably more sensible than the Police management that decided on the 1KM approach.

    For those that do get such a ticket, I would expect they would be prepared to challenge it in court.

    Time will tell!

  • Steve

    I am not anti police and in our society here in New Zealand I will never be. They are not a perfect organisation, but in no society are they perfect. In fact we don’t expect them to be, but we expect them to enforce the law, and that is the job that we as a democratic society have ordained them to do. Without the Police then society would crumble and the rule of law would evaporate. Not a place I wish to live.,

    Our Police force became saddled with traffic enforcement quite a while ago and I think it was against their wishes. So we have to live with what we were dished out and as a consequence the Police became the spokesperson for traffic law….And that is where I take exception, their attitude on speed…..

    Collisions kill, not speed.

    The Police are obsessed with speed.They have an extremely generous marketing budget to sell their pet product, Speed.The budget is justified because of the revenue it brings. The revenue is gathered because of technology. The speed of a moving vehicle is one aspect of driving that is detectable, in most cases undeniable, and the result is money.

    That it is it in a nutshell.

    Speed does not kill. ( most of the time ) It is collisions that kill. And you can’t have a collision unless one vehicle is in the wrong place. Dosen’t happen, never will. The problem is, Collision is a crap product. You can’t sell it. You can’t sell it because you can’t enforce it with technology, and therefore you can’t gain a revenue stream from it. No revenue stream means no marketing budget so there will never be any obsession with the truth….Collisions kill, Not speed.

    • Albert Lane

      Most of your comments are completely right, but I do believe that all fines go directly to the Consolidated Fund, and the police don’t even get a commission. Once upon a time we had two separate police forces – the police and the traffic cops (who were employed by the Ministry of Transport). From memory, a certain Minister of Police by the name of John Banks, decided that it would be more economical to combine the two policing units into one, which would mean that no matter how much the police hated to look after traffic, they had to, and they probably would still rather look after solving crimes than stopping somebody who is driving like an ass. Simple answer: Revert to two forces. We all know that if we go for a walk into our shopping areas, we’ll see unregistered cars. But you’ll never see a policeman there to ticket them. Observe any stop signs in your neighbourhood. We have two of them. Only half of the traffic stops. And where are the police? They’re sitting in their police station 200 metres away waiting for a call-out. They’re never seen on the streets unless they’re buying their lunches, and they’re plainly off-duty, as they’re not wearing their headgear. It’s time for a change at the top. And when that happens, things will change at the policing end. They’ll put the bad drivers and unsafe cars off the road, and we’ll all be safer.

      • Steve

        Hi Albert. Im no expert on the consolidated fund but in my simplistic analogy I make the assumption that ultimately the advertising invoices get paid by some form of govt agency and another govt agency brings in the revenue. They could not bother at all with advertising but I suppose it is seen as some sort of public conditioning to help justify all the speed traps in whatever form it takes


        • Albert Lane

          They were talking about it on ZB this morning. Nobody phoned in to contradict the host. When you think about it, it wouldn’t be right for fines imposed by the police to go to police funds.

  • damm good thrashing

    After the holiday period the police will trumpet the success of the zero tolerance campaign. They will claim the toll would have been higher if they hadn’t done it. They will never admit they were wrong and will continue to lose public support as a resilt

    • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

      I have issues with goals that cant be measured like this – “we saved lives” – Whose lives? Show us.

      Its impossible to show figures of things that didnt happen and then claim that statistics back you up. Statistics lie, people are fallible, people can be random, the data set is variable, the skill levels of drivers is variable.

      If I set out to shoot 10 people and didnt shoot 10 people, could I claim that I saved them? Technically they are alive (cant tell you who though) and I didnt kill them so my actions did in fact save them. That makes me a hero.

      The constantly lowering road toll is always rolled out to show how good the new measures are but its the cars (as mentioned elsewhere) saving us.

      Id like to see a breakdown of fatalities paired with their reasons (road/conditions/driver error/speed/drink driving/etc) and then we might get a better idea as to how we can fix things.

      • Albert Lane

        They are very careful not to release such figures, as it would put them in a bad light. We all know that they’re led by clowns who have absolutely no knowledge of traffic control, and who would rather be in charge of solving crimes. It’s way past time when we should split the cops into two forces – Police and Traffic Cops – the way it used to be. But when you recall that our rather strange MPs didn’t raise the drinking age back to 20, you’ve got to ask yourselves why they didn’t do so, and you’ll realise that being intelligent is the prime factor, and that so many of our so-called leaders have no idea of the concept of common-sense or of human nature.

  • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

    The last few days of driving over the Lewis Pass, around Buller District (granity, Karamea, Westport) I would have to say the traffic was a pain.

    Yes everyone was obeying the limit, or rather staying under it. That was the problem in some areas (the windy bits especially) if you get a chance to get by a slow driver (they pull over or whatever) you need to get moving and go, not trickle past at 100kms and basically stuff the rest of the traffic up.

    Following someone doing 90kms we found it was impossible to pass anyone and stay under 100kms. In the end I figured the fine was the same for 101-110 so bugger it I’ll be quicker and safer and maybe take my chances.

    That was fine if you were directly behind the slow driver but if not you were at the mercy of the those in front of you and if they werent moving, neither were you.

    At least they could drop back off the slow guys bumper and let us pass them and then pass the slow car – but no.

    Some of those 60-70km stretches of windy stuff (doable at 85-90) with bursts of speed up to 100kms in the straight passable bits (so you couldnt pass) got me white knuckled at times. When there are 20 cars behind you maybe you need to speed up or pull over – not everyone is on a sunday drive!

    I have to admit the campervans and trucks were great and where they could they would slow and move over to allow the traffic to pass. Just a shame the same couldnt be said for all other slow drivers.

    • Albert Lane

      You are completely right. The person who causes the congestion is not just the slow idiot at the front of the queue of cars, it’s the driver of the car immediately behind the first car. They effectively prevent anybody from passing the slow-coach.

  • Gaynor

    We went from Christchurch to Timaru and back again today. This morning the traffic was heavy and very slow. Lots of campers, trucks and slow slow drivers …plus the usual speeders taking risks probably out of frustration…. We saw not one police car.
    Tonight coming home there was hardly any traffic , everyone travelling safely … a bit of speeding to pass the slower traffic mostly on passing lanes …. We counted 8 police / speed cameras . Totally stupid.
    As for the driver who slammed on his brakes the very instant he hit the 70k sign at Dunsandel …. Grrrrrrrrrr words fail me !

    • Albert Lane

      Yes, it’s becoming very obvious that something is amiss in the upper echelons of the NZ Police. They must think that the motoring public of NZ believe everything they say. It would be interesting to imagine the edicts to those at the sharp end of policing. “We know that most of the accidents are not really accidents, but crashes, as they are caused by drunkenness, drugs, negligence, ignorance, unlicenced drivers, and bad driving. But we’re going to ignore all the bad drivers and we’ll concentrate on copping anybody doing over 101 kmh on the open roads, no matter how safe their driving is. Make sure you park on downhill slopes so you can catch more of them than usual. We haven’t the funds to put you guys on the road in plain cars, to detect those who drive like imbeciles, drive too slowly, hold up traffic, tailgate, pass on yellow lines, fail to indicate lane changes or turns, fail to stop at stop signs, use mobile phones and do texting. No. We’ll just concentrate on the speeders this year, and that should not only cut the road toll, but it will send a message to all drivers that we won’t tolerate bad driving, notwithstanding that that message is rubbish, because we all know that we do tolerate everything except speeding. So it’s up to you guys and gals to spread the message. Good luck. You’ll need it. Signed…. The Boss”. ” PS Don’t forget to ignore all dangerous driving by tourists and the slow drivers who hold up all the traffic by driving slowly in their rental campervans. They’re just having fun. See you all when we get back from the beach around mid-January. In the meantime, keep those radars warm and issue plenty of speeding fines.”

  • marcus

    What really gets my goat up is the police turning up to Accidents like the pike Mine or this car that has gone off the bridge on the west coast today and they stop Specially Trained search and rescue personal doing what they are trained to do, Search and rescue. The Police should only be in charge of Traffic in and around the area and leave the Specialty rescues to those who are trained. We have Police turning up who are trained in writing tickets telling Search and rescue they cant go in. Its like watching Dumb and Dumber with these west coast police. And people die because of this incompetence.