Jordan Bond is a reporter for NZME's Local Network.

Cops fine fewer drivers for going too slowly in North

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Just 96 drivers in Northland were issued tickets by police for slow or inconsiderate driving in the last 10 years.
Just 96 drivers in Northland were issued tickets by police for slow or inconsiderate driving in the last 10 years.

Northland drivers are ticketed less than anywhere else in the country for going too slowly.

Just 96 drivers in Northland were issued tickets by police for slow or inconsiderate driving in the last 10 years - fewer than the Southern District's 2015 total of 130, and easily the lowest in the country. But at $150 a pop, it's nothing to be sneezed at.

Automobile Association Northland chairman Steve Westgate said the lack of tickets was probably due to police focusing efforts elsewhere, but said slow driving could be serious and result in dangerous driving.

"Away from State Highway 1, there are very few passing lanes and opportunities. [Inconsiderately slow driving] can lead to riskier overtaking than is wise just because frustration builds up," he said.

He said it could be problematic on long weekends or holiday periods when there were more people driving on unfamiliar roads.

"I think there is a lack of awareness. A lot of these drivers aren't confident drivers. They feel constrained on the normal, two-laned road," he said.

"They're driving safely and cautiously, but without consideration for other road users."

Nationwide, the South Island was the most ticketed part of the country last year, with Southern, Tasman and Canterbury the top three ticketed districts.

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

"The risk is around impatient drivers passing when it is not safe to do so," he said.

"Police would also encourage motorists who are driving more slowly than others to find a safe place to pull over and let traffic pass."

It was difficult to know why there were so many tickets issued in the Southern District without close analysis, police said.

However, 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.

"It's no good for anybody when there's a driver that feels nervous and intimidated and under pressure when they've got a driver tailgating them, and it's no good for the car behind if they then do something rash."

- Northern Advocate

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