Automobile Association ignores elephant in the room


AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen said over the last two years very low numbers of people were killed on the roads during the holidays, at six and seven deaths.

“Unfortunately, this year, we’ve seen it go back up to at least 16. That takes us back to basically where we were three years ago, where there were 19 people killed,” he said.

Yes.  So, your conclusion Mr Dylan Thomsen?

“Everybody would have liked us to at least be able to continue the trend of the last few years or have even less deaths. That hasn’t happened, unfortunately.”

It proves that the speed tolerance experiment has failed and can now be shelved.   But why aren’t the Automobile Association calling for this on behalf of their members?

We all know we need some degree of tolerance for speeding when overtaking.  Doing it at the speed limit will put many more people in danger through built-up frustration.

It is time the AA backs drivers instead of the failed road policing policies.

In all the holidays where the speed limit tolerance was reduced, it only resulted in less deaths once.  Every other time, it has not.   And as we’ve noted, the weather hasn’t even been a factor for the police to use to “explain” the problem.  Instead, they’re back on speed and alcohol.

Fine, we know this.  But it is EXCESSIVE speed and EXCESSIVE alcohol.

Leave the good people alone.




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  • Whitey

    What a spineless man. I’ve become more and more disillusioned with the AA over the years, as they consistently fail to advocate for drivers.

    • caochladh

      The AA should belong to the Prostitutes Collective. They don’t give a stuff about the motorist, preferring to be in bed with the oil company’s and LTNZ. The AA constantly complain about the price of fuel, yet they are part of the reason it is artificially high.

      • Tippex

        Great mental picture there, caochladh. Once seen, cannot be unseen!

  • Elinor_Dashwood

    Certainly, but how would you propose the police distinguish between “good people” and others, if not by the setting and enforcement of a necessarily arbitrary limit?
    Depending on the weather, the time of day, the capability of the vehicle, the condition of the road, the amount and nature of other traffic, the competence of the individual driver, what else is going on inside the car etc etc etc, 80kph could be excessive. Under different conditions, 120kph might be fine at exactly the same place. Do you think the police should have the power to stop anybody whose driving they don’t consider safe, in view of what the prevailing conditions, in their opinion, require – so it’s entirely up to police discretion? Or should speed limits be varied for different times, drivers, places, weather conditions?

    • Bob D

      The police should be free to stop unsafe drivers, but mainly to warn and discuss, not to just fine mindlessly and repeatedly from the side of the road. They could start to regain respect by showing that they are genuinely interested in reducing the road toll in this way.

      It’ll take many years though to regain the public’s trust – they have a long path ahead of them.

      • Elinor_Dashwood

        You’ve not addressed the question of how “unsafe” drivers should be identified in the first place. Suppose you are driving in a way that you consider safe, a policeman stops you and says he does not think you were driving safely. You have a discussion, but you and he still do not agree as to whether your driving was safe or not. What should happen then?

        • HR

          The police would have to prove that you were not driving in a safe manner. It is very subjective, however, road safety doesn’t have to come down to being fined. For most people the only contact they have with police is on the road in a vehicle stop. Most of those people will respond better to a friendly chat and perhaps a warning from the police officer rather than a ticket.
          Most will go away happy that the nice police person gave them a little telling off about their 110km/hr speed for a second or two and will be very vigilant about their speed from then on in. Not going to happen in every case, but think about your reaction if you got a little telling off or a ticket. Would you be as vigilant or less vigilant in either case?

          • Elinor_Dashwood

            Yes, it’s very subjective. That’s the whole point. Therefore it is an impossibility for the police to “prove” that somebody was not driving in a safe manner. You are effectively proposing that the police should let off scot-free, people who don’t drive safely.

          • HR

            No I wasn’t, you may have missed the point. The police have to prove many things, and present evidence to back up their assertions. This can be done for a driving incident that may not have a specific offence such as speed. Take carless driving for example. The police have to prove the “ingredients” of the offence, and it can be in their opinion that the driver was driving carelessly. What was careless about the incident? They put a case forward based on their observations and it will be judged on its merits.
            As for proposing to let people off scot free, no. I was merely suggesting that the police have a power of discretion, and in some cases it may be much more productive in terms of goodwill to warn someone rather than fine, and get a better outcome.

        • Bob D

          Safety is a complex problem, with no easy answers, as we have seen. The Police are clueless, but won’t admit it.

          There are some basics that I have learned through over thirty years without a serious crash:
          1) Speed does not kill of itself. Poor judgement kills. A study by Edinburgh University some years back identified outright speed as only number seven in the top ten causes of road deaths. Numbers 1 and 2 were distractions inside and outside the vehicle. Road awareness means concentrating and identifying potential threats early, and reacting before the threat becomes a problem.

          2) Road design is paramount. NZ has poor rural roads, but the new motorways are excellent quality. Build more, and quickly. Raise the speed limit on motorways to the international standard of 120km/h.

          3) Driver education is also key: but the focus should be on courtesy and traffic flow, not just speed, speed, speed. Relaxed drivers are safer drivers, and more courteous. It is NOT OK to hold up traffic unnecessarily. The queue behind you gets longer and longer, and someone is guaranteed to overtake sooner or later, and the more cars one overtakes the more dangerous it is. But the police focus on speed alone is killing people, as it gives poor drivers an excuse to travel slowly.
          4) Set the speed limits on what is actually reasonable for each road. Yes, it means limits change, and it requires more work by the Transport guys, but it works, I’ve seen it work. People would take the limits more seriously if they actually believed they were set sensibly, rather than a blanket slow limit across the board.
          5) Vehicle design is lowering the death toll all the time. Modern cars have ABS brakes, better collision characteristics, airbags, ESP, etc. One suspects the police are trying to claim their speed reduction policy is the cause of the general reduction over time – it isn’t. As long as they remain confused they will fail.

      • Mark

        Well said Bob,this has long been my belief as well. IMO it was a mistake to remove the MOT,yes many were pedantic,fascists,but I would argue that many were genuinely interested in road safety & educating motorists.
        Until the Police are free to perform the education role at their discretion,using a big stick when they deem it required & thru the courts,driving will not improve.
        Yes it would require a great deal of retraining as to the Police role in road safety & their mindset,it also would required a change in focus with regard to budgets.

        At this time the focus is on revenue gathering,that needs to change.We have all the laws needed to enforce safe driving,but they require work & evidence & time in court,not instant fines that ignore the issue.

    • HR

      Its not about good people or bad people, to should be about road safety. They do have the power to stop anyone if they feel their driving is not up to scratch, or that they are not driving to the conditions same as they have discretionary powers to warn rather than issue infringements. The police also have the power, and I would say responsibility to pull drivers over if they are driving well below a speed limit and check that they are not drunk, fatigued or have any other issues that may be affecting their ability to control the vehicle.
      Problem is, this is not how the police receive funding from the likes of LTSA. The holy grail there is speed and alcohol, so the more offences that are detected and infringements issued, the more money is sent their way.

  • twr

    AA long ago stopped being an organisation that advocates for motorists, and morphed into an insurance company.

    • Aucky

      The only reason I belong to the AA now is for their Roadside Assistance service. The rest of their service is crap. Queues are a mile long, service staff whose English is a second language, the driver testing contract to NZTA seems to be under a cloud and I’ve heard that their car servicing workshop charges are right up at the top end. To be fair those comments apply to Auckland & I would be interested to hear about the AA operation in other parts of NZ.

      • Lemuzz

        yes WOF charges are right at the top end in CHCH

        • I.M Bach

          Generally speaking I avoid any WOF testing station that also does repairs for obvious reasons. Aucky is almost right, most of the AA’s services don’t amount to much but I know of several people who have used their pre-purchase inspections and avoided buying lemons. They do have their good points but I lost faith in their ability to speak for motorists when they got into bed with BP all those eyears ago.

          • Lemuzz

            WOF issuing agents rejecting a vehicle to get work are risking their issuing Authority which would be far greater than getting the work from just one job. Any way the customer is free to get any rejects repaired at the garage of their choice

      • Albert Lane

        I would not have agreed with you if you had written that a month ago. My daughter and son in-law’s car broke down a few weeks ago during the weekend. They called the AA out, but it couldn’t be started, and their car was taken to an AA station. However, it was closed, and the entrance-way was chained up, so their car was left outside the entrance, parked on the roadside. When they came to pick up their car, they found that somebody had smashed in to it whilst it was on the roadside. I still can’t understand why the AA truck driver didn’t have a key to get their car off the road. And yes, I’m still a loyal AA member, and this is the first instance I have ever experienced of any failings they might have.

  • Simon Brown

    I wish that they would remove speed as a factor from crashes where alcohol is clearly the cause of the accident.
    It’s about as useful as saying that the guy that jumped off the lamp pole was killed by a combination of alcohol and the speed with which he hit the ground.

  • williamabong

    The AA have become irrelevant as far as comments go and should be ignored, look at the driving standards in this country if you want a cause for crashes, the only reason the police want to grab anyone speeding is because they are the easiest to catch, and if they are white, middle aged, and employed the most likely to pay.
    There has been nothing proactive done by the police in living memory to actually combat road deaths, just a bundle of knee jerk brain farts, like lowering the drinking tolerance, when they know most of the problem comes from the hard core drink driver, who invariably has long since lost his licence.
    The police in this country are fast becoming a joke, especially on the roads, perhaps it’s time some of the senior police left their comfortable offices and had a look at the real world, perhaps even sought input from other road users like the transport industry for example, instead of retards like Clive Two-Dads.

    • Sooty

      The rest of the force get a bad name because of the revenue collection dept.

  • Hedgehog

    It’s political why he won’t condemn the police speed policy. The AA like the police get a lot of funding from the NZTA or what used to be the LTSA. Take the funding allocation away from the NZTA and give it directly to the police. Can’t do much about the AA, they are in bed with NZTA fronting driver licensing, and therefore need to support NZTA road safety policy – which is anti speed. So they aren’t going to rock the boat, other than mumble platitudes.

    • andrew carrot

      You won’t hear the AA making any comments about the outrageous cost of fuel in NZ either because they have discount arrangements with some of the suppliers. Make too much noise, and members lose the 6c/l discount they currently get.

  • Rex

    I,am sorry to,say the Police as a result of their traffic division have lost a lot of people’s respect through their ineptitude!

    • Ratchette

      I find the police at checkpoints carry out the appointed task well. It’s the senior desk-jockies that are the real problem.

  • Alloytoo

    Attention paid to Speed and Alcohol as a means to reduce holiday road fatalities has clearly reached the point of diminishing returns.

    Harassing the 99% who are largely compliant 99% of the time was never an innovative or cost effective solution.

  • Cadae

    Since the 1960s, the “Solomon curve” has successfully explained crash rates and helped set policy – see The curve shows that it is the extreme differentials of speed that are the main cause of crashes and that speed differentials within about +-5mph of the average don’t make much difference to the crash rate.

    • Bruce S

      “….speed differentials within about +-5mph of the average don’t make much difference to the crash rate.” But it does make a huge difference to their income cash rate.

  • Lance Ralph

    I consider my wife to be a very good, very considerate and very safe driver but she is also a slow driver and at night a cautious driver.

    Last year we drove from Hamilton to Auckland at night, I had had a couple of drinks and my wife drove.

    We came to a contraflow on the motorway where overtaking was impossible. Our speed was too slow (about 70K) for the ‘ute behind us and, after about 40 seconds of contraflow the driver ‘s patience wore thin . From occasional headlight flashes – to permanent full beam – to horn permanently blaring – to dropping back and tearing up behind us – to tailgating us at a distance of about 1 metre we couldn’t let him pass and we couldn’t stop. Fortunately the contraflow finished before the ‘ute rammed us.

    I support rigorous enforcement of speed limits and I have little problem with slow and relaxed driving but if we are to drive for any distance at night then I must now forgo the drinks and drive .

    On another matter we drove out into the Waitakere ranges on Christmas day for a walk. On the way there and back I reckoned that about 1 car in about 40 was being driven very erratically and I suspected drivers either drunk or drugged.

    • Ratchette

      Or perhaps had not passed a driving test but were driving on a counterfeit licence ?

    • Ratchette

      I wonder just how much time that driver would save on the journey ?
      I usually pull over to let the idiot pass.

      • andrew carrot

        Seems appropriate. We’d expect no less consideration from caravan or boat owners

        • Lance Ralph

          In our case the problem was there was nowhere to pull over.

          • Will Travers

            It appears some people have never come across contra flows, both the idiot trying to park in your boot and some of the commenters here!

    • caochladh

      I believe that would be quite normal out in the wild, wild west.

    • Sooty

      Do you think 70km on a motorway is a bit slow?

      • Will Travers

        Whilst I probably shouldn’t be speaking for Lance he does mention it was a contraflow and presumably just the one lane in each direction. Usually they have speed restrictions in place of 80, 50 0r even 30 kph. Regardless, at night time through a contraflow, 70 kph is a very reasonable speed even if the posted limit remained at 100 kph.

    • Dave

      Lance, a good post, but i disagree with you, IF the posted speed limit was 100 Km/H on the contraflow, that would mean you were travelling 30Km/M below the posted limit, which in itself is a hazard if maintained for a length of time. I myself, always travel on or just slightly above the limit, and as a courtesy will pull over even well onto the shoulder and let a faster driver/vehicle past, no matter how fast or impatient they are, I would prefer them off my tail and speeding ahead of me. There is normally somewhere to pull over, even if only onto the shoulder on a straight section to let another motorist past, and let you continue in relative peace.

      We talked our dad out of driving at night, as he couldnt see well enough and had become a hazard. That said, the driver in the ute should have shown a bit of patience as well.

  • Ratchette

    My suggestion is to, firstly make sure anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle has a valid driving license. I realise this might seem like hard work to senior police who invariably like the easy option.

    I am aware that counterfeit driving licenses are quite easily obtainable here in Auckland. So instead of committing resources to ‘zero tolerance’ – check driving licenses, and I mean scanning details to central computers, not just looking at the photo.

    No license, tow the car off the road. Whoever owns the car pay a considerable fine within four weeks or car sent to auction. Also a hefty fine on the illegal driver.

    Step one …. get unlicensed drivers off the road.
    Step two …. well, there is a step two, but that’s enough for now.
    In short .. get the hoons off the roads.

  • Bazza63

    Saying speed & alcohol were a factor in an accident does not mean that either of these were the cause of the crash.Look at the following example.
    Driver A had 1 beer & was driving at 101 kph & was hit by a driver B who had no drink, driving at 90 kph who crossed the center line. The police would say speed & alcohol were a factor in the accident, not that the cause was a non drinking & non speeding driver.

    • Albert Lane

      Yes, that’s what the cops tell us. But do they tell the truth? Nah. They simply generalise. The fact that speed and alcohol might be present in a road crash ignores all other factors. Was the crash actually due to excess alcohol that induced the driver to speed? Is the term speed and alcohol an excuse to say that 99% of the crashes were caused by excess alcohol, and the other 1% caused by excessive speed? You can fool anybody by the careful (mis)-use of statistics and generalisations.

    • Spiker

      I’m really looking forward to see how the FREED reporters present these Police sound bites.

  • Second time around

    No amount of policing will stop people driving off the road if they are tired, drunk or have forgotten that the speed limit is the maximum speed, not the speed to take every corner, one lane bridge or sand dune within the nation’s roading system. The police should not have put such emphasis on a single aspect of safe driving, but it is difficult or even impossible to determine what impact their presence had: measures such as ACC and iproperty claims per kilometer driven are probably a better measure than the number of deaths.

  • Jaffa

    You should be allowed to exceed the speed limit for the time it takes to overtake one vehicle and trailer !

    • Albert Lane

      Absolutely. The shortest amount of time you are on the wrong side of the road whilst overtaking is crucial to road safety. Any cop who tickets a person who exceeds the speed limit whilst overtaking, needs their head read.

  • cows4me

    The AA sounds like a lot of other organisations that start out with the message they represent the members, we have several in the rural community similar to the AA. Seems once they get settled in and the members pay up they become complaint lapdogs and parrot the current narrative, usually some politically correct dribble to bring the masses into line. It’s happening more and more.

  • conwaycaptain

    Two were killed on a beach, two were tourist who drove off a bridge

    • Annie218

      Trees and power poles also seemed to be a problem – maybe in the wrong place.

      • Dave

        The issue there, is they were not maintaining a reasonable speed and keeping up with other traffic, perhaps they were worried about the 1Km an hour tolerance? Or, perhaps even at 30 km/hour they are a hazard to an impaired driver.

  • Pacman

    I have just driven from Dunedin to Blenheim and back over the last two weeks. Overall the driving has been good. The examples of bad driving I have seen over that time fall into two groups
    1) Motorbikes who seem to think that the rules simply don’t apply to them. Passing on yellow lines and blind corners is common place. They are disproportionately represented in the statistics but that appears to be their own doing.

    2) Slow drivers. We regularly found ourselves in long queues of traffic with an inconsiderate driver at the front. You could feel the frustration building as each Km rolled past. Eventually some idiot would do a storming passing maneuver from ten cars back. I’m not suggesting this was a good idea but the root cause is neither speeding or drinking. It is inconsiderate drivers. They seem to fall into a few groups:
    a) Towing vehicles – boats, caravans, horse floats etc. Often so wide the driver has no chance of seeing behind to see if they are causing a problem.
    b) Inappropriate car. If you own a car that is only suitable to drive to the supermarket you should think hard before setting off on a trip to the other end of the country or at least recognise the car’s limitations and pull over regularly.
    c) Lack of confidence or skill in driving. This type of driver is often characterised by unnecessary braking and slow cornering followed by speeding up on passing lanes, thus preventing anyone from getting past without risking a fine from police for doing a few Kms over the limit.

    Focusing on speed and alcohol is clearly not working. How about putting some energy onto lifting the overall driving skill, focusing of inconsiderate driving and adding some more passing lanes. Passing lanes in the middle of generally straight roads are clearly easier to build but of limited use. How about putting them in the windy and hilly parts of the country where they are actually required ?

    An roading engineer I know once told me he could save more lives with the road policing budget that the police could ever save. Maybe its time for a different tack ?

    • Albert Lane

      I believe that any rental car driven by an overseas driver should be clearly identifiable. For instance if I am following a slow driver who puts the brakes on at every little corner, and who doesn’t pull over to let traffic get past, I now assume it’s a tourist, and it makes me more tolerant and less impatient. If it was actually a New Zealand driver, I would be quite irritated, and wondering why we don’t have better driver training in this country. So I now always decide it’s a tourist. It’s less stressful.

    • exactchange

      I saw a doco a few years back on the engineering of autobahns in Germany. They are designed and built to hugely exacting standards with the primary reason being to avoid accidents. Apparently it works.

      • Albert Lane

        I have lived in Germany. They have some huge crashes on their autobahns, with multiple vehicles involved and multiple casualties. It’s not wise to generalise. However, I do agree that too many of our roads were built for a different era, an age in which few of us owned vehicles, and there were only a few trucks on the roads. Many of our roads are totally incapable of carrying the increased volumes of traffic, and if you believe the pundits, traffic volumes increase by 10% per year. And that’s one of the reasons that driving on our roads can be so frustrating.

        • Jas

          Problem is that no one wants to pay for the new improved roads

          • Albert Lane

            It’s strange that you should say that. We live south of Whangarei, and when we go down SH1 to the Puhoi tunnel, we then have to pay a toll, or spend 15 minutes going around the long way via Orewa. And now they tell us that they’re going to extend the motorway to Wellsford, but we’ll have to pay a toll to get on that as well. But if you drive north on Auckland’s North West motorway, you’ll find that you’re soon driving on a lovely new extension to the motorway that bypasses Hobsonville and takes you nearly all the way to SH1 south of Albany. And the tolls? Not a cent. So even though those who live north of Orewa pay millions of dollars in road taxes, they still have to pay to use the highway, while all that money that they have paid in road taxes goes to pay for lovely new roads around NZ so that others who haven’t paid for them can use them free of charge. Can you beat that.


    In stead of ‘dumping’ on the police and the ‘speed and alcohol’ theme, maybe this blog and its commenters can come up with constructive (affordable) suggestions how to lower the road casulaties (noticed the police increasingly stresses the seriously wounded lately)

    • Mighty1

      Are you suggesting that if a course of action is not working, we should continue that course of action (and endure all the downside of that action), simply beacuse no body has a better idea? Whats your idea?

    • johcar

      They are stressing the seriously injured because there are fewer and fewer fatals overall (this holiday period included).

      There are fewer fatals because cars have better safety features and handle better than they did when the speed limits we have were originally set and roads used to be much worse (when was the last time you drove on a gravel road?)

      I believe we are at that point of diminishing returns, where further concentration on speed will not positively and materially affect the road toll.

      Time to refocus enforcement on driver behaviour/licensing and vehicle roadworthiness.

      But speed is SOOOOO much easier to police…

  • Albert Lane

    So if you’re a responsible and mature driver, or a young driver who takes driving seriously, you’d naturally belong to the AA. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of the fatalities were AA members. I would suggest an answer. None. On Kerre McIvor’s talkback programme this morning, a respondent (who may have been John Banks – but I missed the introduction) said that the majority of bad driving was caused by ferals. So if this is correct, are the latest speed limits being foisted on all drivers, notwithstanding that the problems on our roads are primarily caused by ferals? So are the Police actually covering up the real problem? And if it is the ferals at the root of the problem, surely it is now time to introduce compulsory third party insurance and confiscation of vehicles more than 1 month overdue on their registration/WOF, or if the driver is over a certain percentage of alcohol. If the cops are demanding zero tolerance, then somebody has to define what zero tolerance means. I believe it should be zero tolerance of ferals on the road.

  • benniedawg

    The AA used to be advocates for your average Joe motorist. Now they are nothing more than a mouthpiece for the police and heavily into bed with BP. I still support them financially, why I don’t know, but given the k’s we drive each year it is only for their breakdown services. Though given the subs I have paid over 40 years and never called on them once maybe it has been a poor investment. Maybe time to review after their latest pile of toss.

    • Albert Lane

      We all pay our home and contents insurance without fail every year. So what percentage of us actually needs to claim on that policy during our lifetimes? Very few of us. That’s how insurance companies make their money. But having that policy gives us peace of mind. It’s the same with breakdown services. You may never need them, but if you do get stuck somewhere, you’ll be grateful you had your AA card with you. If the unexpected occurs, it’s nice to be prepared. I believe your AA membership is a good investment – just in case.

  • Dave

    maybe the solution is flow. A few years back whilst living in NZ, i had a regular weekly meeting in Morrinsville. Skype or such technology wouldnt cut it, so i drove, and was leaving home on the north shore around 4.45 am. A great time to travel, all traffic moved fast, on or slightly above the limit, and drivers kept left. at that hour, there are very few slow or as others have described “feral” drivers. coincidentally, the trip home always took far longer, almost an hour longer, solely due to slow and inconsiderate drivers.

    My point. ENCOURAGE all drivers to drive at or close to the speed limit, or pull over and let faster traffic through. Any driver holding up another for more than 1 km should be issued a fine for delaying others. Keep vehicles up to standard, get the wreck’s off the road, increase the penalty for no WOF or registration to well over $1000.00. if caught with no license, make it a mandatory 24 hours in the cells, no if’s, no but’s, prison. If police were serious about the accident rate, they would look at root causes, including this little GEM, eating and smoking in cars. I cant drive and chat on my mobile any longer, yet had never ever had an accident whilst doing so, yet its still legal to have a HOT coffee, pie or worse still, a lit fire/cancer stick in your hand whilst driving, and that hand should be on the steering wheel?

    • Albert Lane

      Apart from the fact that one-armed people can still get drivers licences and drive safely, I completely agree with you. And if these people are not eating, slurping on their coffee, smoking, or fiddling with their electronics, their arms are dangling outside the car window. And is there any publicity given to get drivers to stop this behaviour? Nah.

    • Andrew Gibson

      Ironic that we want to penalise slow drivers; whereas we glorify impatience. I tend to drive at or 2-3km below any limit and would never pull over for those wanting to speed.

      • Albert Lane

        I pull over. If they want to kill themselves, I don’t want to be anywhere near them when it happens.

      • Dave

        So, there you are admitting to holding up traffic, when they might be impatient. Myself, i let anyone past, if they want to wrap themselves around a tree or lampost a few km ahead, its not around me. suggest you also consider your own driving peace, an impatient driver behind you, or a few seconds to let them past and then peace again!

        Lets not forget, most vehicles speedos are 3 to 5 km/h out, and are slower than indicated speed, which means you might be doing 5 to 8 km/h under the limit. We set our speed by our GPS, and we also know our own modern german built car is 7km under on the speedo at 110km/h.

      • Never in the dark…..

        It’s this kind of small minded arrogance that is at the core of traffic flow issues. The root that causes aggro in other drivers, causing them to drive in a reckless fashion to get past.

        When I first was allowed to ride my pushbike on public road (7 or 8….and without kneepads or a helmet) it was drummed into me, “KEEP LEFT, PASS RIGHT”. This is an adage I’ve used throughout my driving life (not my politics). If there’s someone coming up behind me at a faster rate, if I’m at 80, 90 or 110, I get out the way as quick as I can. Common courtesy, and making the road safer.

        Some parts of the world there is a ‘fast lane’ and keep left. pass right is an enforced rule.

        Even in the UK motorway cops turn a blind eye to traffic flowing at 20-30 kph over the posted speed limit. They argue that the impact on flow and the subsequent traffic jam for other road users is not worth a few pounds on the coffers. However should there be weaving etc. It’s all over Rover.

        • Andrew Gibson

          How interesting….almost a left wing approach to the rule of law; ignore the laws you don’t like. Certainly a novel approach to excuse impatient/incompenent driving and blame drivers that are within the law.

    • Platinum Fox

      The drivers I have always given a wide berth to are those who, when talking, believe that they have to look directly at their front seat passenger, presumably because they feel a need to ensure that their no doubt important message is fully understood. Drivers who wave their hands about when talking are only marginally better and also to be avoided.

  • Mighty1

    Kerre Woodham had a caller this morning who claimed to be driving a truck and saw the accident in 1 Jan which killed a young woman after it hit a pole on the Motorway in East Tamaki. According to him the car flew up behind him changed lane, passed, then weaved a couple more vehicles before loosing control and hitting the pole, the woman was flung out of the vehicle (no seatbelt?) and died in the third lane. So this is an axample of the real cause of road deaths/accidents here. Driving at 20-30Km over the posted limit AND weaving in close proximity to other traffic, i.e. driving dangerously, AND not wearing seat belt. Pinging you and me traveling at 1Km 4Km or so over the speed limit is NOT going to stop these accidents.

    • Albert Lane

      Yes, I saw the photo of the crash. The car was damaged on the front driver’s side and the rear driver’s side. That would line up with what the truckie said. But in reporting the crash and the death of the woman, the media said nothing about her seat belt. I wish they’d tell the truth instead of omitting some of the facts.

  • Amanda Atkinson

    What other law do we have where so many “law abiding citizens” feel it is their “right” to break it? Crazy stuff. What does everyone who feels entitled to break this law, think the “tolerance” should be? If 103kph is unreasonable, but 120kph is acceptable to get stopped by a cop, where is the magic number in between ,,, which one? 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 or 19? which one is acceptable to you, so there is no grey area? OK .. let’s take 106km. Well we all know, if the cops start stopping people at 107 everyone will whine about that too, saying the cops are too inflexible, and revenue grabbing. Ridiculous. Should the speed be 110kph on Motorways? Yes. Should we be allowed to go 110-115kph for a few seconds while over taking? Yes. But at the moment we cannot. So grow up, obey the law, you won’t get stopped, and you will nothing to whine about. Unbelievable.

    • Andrew Gibson

      Quite right Amanda, zero tolerance is always the answer; but 115kph? Why not 115.25 kph? Reminds me of the old joke….”I drive at 150kph and never been killed yet..” Some of these macho drivers are so naive.

    • david

      If normally law abiding citizens think a law is wrong, then the law is wrong or is being badly applied. It isn’t a matter of a 1,2, 3 or whatever tolerance. If the same tolerance is applied everywhere, you are quite right, it makes no difference. What is needed is for the ‘tolerance’ to reflect the conditions. The police should allow greater tolerance on an open road with good sightlines than on a windy road or where traffic is heavy. What happened at new year was that the police put all their effort into forcing speeds on major roads down from 104 to 101 km/h and dropped the ball on all other bad behaviour

    • Mighty1

      Sorry Amanda, I do not buy your “naughty boy” approach to this discussion. Different speeds are appropriate for different situations. Unsafe speed should be prosecuted, why have a number at all. I whine about restricting speeds on passing lanes to the “limit” which makes it impossible or extremely impossible to pass that driver that’s been in front doing 80K for miles and miles slowing down at the corners, speeding up to 80 again after corners, and speeding up to 100k on the pass lane. This exposes passing drivers to oncoming traffic danger for too long and could be the cause of several of the deaths this summer.

      • Amanda Atkinson

        As I said … “Should we be allowed to go 110-115kph for a few seconds while over taking? Yes.” … so sure, have a debate about that law, but for now, it is simply “the law”. So obey it, and you wont have any cops stopping you. Saying the cops are too blame, if you go over the limit, because you think you should be entitle to break the law …. come on!. This is getting quite silly with you and David below. So the police should be flexible on a daily basis, depending on how busy the roads are, and what the weather is like? Are you serious? People are already taking issue with a very black and white and simple law. Imagine introducing all that grey. Imagine, if the police had you lot saying “today I should be allowed to go faster than 100kph, because there is less cars than yesterday and the rain is not as heavy as yesterday”. Can you imagine the daily outrage, with you lot and your dashboard cameras, posting vids blasting the cops with comparisons of speeding fines comparing how busy the traffic was and how heavy the rain was … I really don’t think that is sensible solution.

        • Mighty1

          The article was about how the police tolerance strategy has not worked in reducing the holiday road toll. I do not see anyone saying it is their right to break the law, those are your words. If they thought it was their right then its not up for discussion. I think you are missing the points made here, most likely on purpose, in order to have a little rant.

    • damm good thrashing

      If everyone decided to not break the law, as you suggest, and everyone drove at 99 kph then the loss of revenue to the police would be huge. How long would it be before the police were forced to drop the limit in order to get people to break the law again.

      • Amanda Atkinson

        There we have it, the great kiwi sense of entitlement to break the law and … it’s all the cops fault and now its a financial conspiracy too? …. pffft …. I rest my case! Yip, all those cops care about is money … please. If they want more revenue, they woukd just increase makes the fines more expensive … think about it.

        • damm good thrashing

          Which is the worse offence, 1 kph over the limit or having your house burgled. we know the answer. The police will do nothing abut your house being burgled but go over the limit and ………… There is no money in solving burglaries

          • Amanda Atkinson

            Oh yes, you are right. I put in an Official information request and guess what …. you’d never believe it, each individual police officer personally benefits from traffic fines, that is why they do it. Well done!

          • Mighty1

            Seriously? When was that? Do you have a copy to post? Oh oops its your modus operandi you are making stuff up again, you show the paucity of your messages and the simplistic way you think.

          • damm good thrashing

            Now you are just getting silly.

      • Mighty1

        Last year I had a camera ticket at 105K. I did not “decide to break the law” it just happened as the car sped up going down hill after 900k of driving over 2 days consciously keeping under the 100 K limit. Its difficult to drive at 100K max at all times. The Herald reported just after new year that speeding revenue was the lowest in years in 2014. As I see it fewer people are exceeding the 110 tolerance now, so they reduced the tolerance to stop the revenue decrease so as to protect their investment in new vans and equipment. It has not worked on the revenue front as revenue is well down, nor on the road toll front so its a fail. However they will come with some spin that its succeeded because there are fewer Mynah birds being killed or some such other indicator of success….

        • Amanda Atkinson

          That called an excuse. Ignorance is not a defense, for any law.

          • Mighty1

            I agree, mynah birds are important not.

  • Several things AA could advocate: Remove the silly speed restrictions in semi- urban areas. Went out through Karaka yesterday- 70 then 80 then 70 again then 100 then 80 then 100 then 80 then 100 again- does your head in trying to keep up with it! Why not just 80 all the way to Kingseat? Improve traffic flow by allowing heavy vehicles up to a certain standard to travel at 100ks. I used to be involved with tour coaches that could handle like a luxury car and stop on a dime if needed. Third, concentrate on idiotic and unsafe driving as the primary cause of vehicle accidents.

  • shykiwibloke

    Does the AA represent drivers – or PC politicians?

  • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

    Just heard AA clown say lots of factors in high stats one of which was low fuel price.


    So the idiots dont rate a mention or the frustrated drivers being held up by paranoid clowns. Best weather in years and still it was higher than last two years. And this years period was 3 days longer.

    Hey maybe the last two years were statistical annomolies and this was normal.

  • Backdoor

    And alcohol and or speed were contributors in the largest proportion of accidents that caused deaths. The Police need to keep the current limits for speed and breath test every driver they stop,

  • KiwiKaffir

    I agree, well said!

  • waldopepper

    as with so many things we seem to have adopted the american “everything is black and white” system of policing where the police have no discretion and simply act as mindless robots enforcing what is written on a piece of paper. that approach may well work in the states, but the unique thing that seems to separate kiwis from others is our incredible sense of fair play. to that end, i always remember how back in my youth when stopped by a cop and given a warning i would always think very highly of the officer for the warning when he could have given me the ticket, and also i then watched my speed after that, as that was the unwritten and implied part of the bargain that was my responsibility having been lucky enough to only get a warning. alas, no longer are we to be treated as grown ups and instead of targeting the actual problem the powers at be throw a blanket over everyone, turn ordinary decent people into criminals for very minor transgressions, and the ultimate result of this is no one likes the cops. what a sad state of affairs. its all about the money, but like everyone else i suspect, its the hypocrisy of saying they are interested in road safety when its clearly about revenue. when it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its a duck.