Tauranga drivers among the slowest in NZ

By Kiri Gillespie, Jordan Bond

4 comments
Automobile Association Bay of Plenty representative Terry Molloy says slow drivers are a problem in Tauranga as figures reveal city drivers are among the worst in New Zealand. Photo/Andrew Warner.
Automobile Association Bay of Plenty representative Terry Molloy says slow drivers are a problem in Tauranga as figures reveal city drivers are among the worst in New Zealand. Photo/Andrew Warner.

Bay of Plenty motorists have been crowned the slowest in the North Island.

Police issued 48 tickets to Bay drivers for slow or inconsiderate driving in 2015 - the third most for any district in New Zealand. Each ticket is worth $150.

Matua resident Isaac Weston said he was caught behind slow drivers regularly and it was incredibly frustrating.

"It's just a constant thing, coming out of Matua. Most of them do about 30km/h all along the road which is a 50km/h zone."

Mr Weston said he often had the dilemma of approaching another driver attempting to pull out of their driveway and deciding whether to speed up to prevent them pulling out in front of him, or to let them in and spend the rest of the journey stuck behind them travelling 20km/h below the speed limit.

Mr Weston said slow drivers were a problem all through Tauranga, "not I'm a speedster or anything".

"It's a problem everywhere. The (Tauranga) Harbour Bridge for example, you get people travelling 60km/h in a 80km/h zone. But in saying that, you have the massively aggressive drivers as well because of the slow drivers. They create it."

Automobile Association Bay of Plenty said the most tickets were likely given to drivers holding up long tails of traffic without pulling over.

Bay of Plenty AA chairman Terry Molloy said no one demographic was responsible, but a growing Bay population could make slow long weekend drives more frequent.

"The Western Bay has got a burgeoning problem with a build up of people and vehicles, which exacerbates any little issue," he said.

Mr Molloy said there were some key stretches of road which appeared to be more of a problem than others.

"If you're driving from Tauranga to Waihi, virtually the only place you can pass is on passing lanes. If you get a slow driver there it makes it extremely difficult."

It's a problem everywhere ... But in saying that, you have the massively aggressive drivers as well because of the slow drivers.
Isaac Weston

Mr Molloy also said the Tauranga to Katikati road was difficult to overtake on and passing lanes were sparse.

"It's just people who are not aware and are inconsiderate - they just aren't thinking of other people. That group of people are sprinkled right throughout our community," he said.

Inconsiderate driving included slowing down and speeding up on passing lanes, and failing to pull left when towing or for otherwise holding up traffic.

Nationally, the Southern police district dished out the most tickets for inconsiderate driving - 130 tickets - while 21 tickets were issued in the Auckland region.

National road policing operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said slow drivers were not a risk in themselves, but contributed to risks on the road.

"The risk is around impatient drivers passing when it is not safe to do so. They need to appreciate that it is not worth the risk."

Mr McKennie said not all slow drivers were tourists or the often-slated elderly drivers.

"Typically speed eases as you get older but slow and inconsiderate driving is across different ages and groups."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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