Too slow drivers get pinged

By Jordan Bond, Kyra Dawson -
It's not just the elderly who are driving slowly, according to Sergeant Simon Betchetti.
It's not just the elderly who are driving slowly, according to Sergeant Simon Betchetti.

Drivers in the Bay region got more tickets than anywhere else in the North Island for travelling too slow last year and it's not just elderly people being pinged for the offence.

Police issued 48 tickets to Bay of Plenty drivers for slow or inconsiderate driving in 2015 - the third most for any district in the country. And at $150 a pop, it's nothing to be sneezed at.

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

People do become impatient and we get big lines backed up and the risk is drivers can make an incorrect judgment.
Rotorua police Sergeant Simon Betchetti

District chairman Terry Molloy said no one demographic was responsible, but Rotorua roads were becoming busier, and could make slow long-weekend drives more frequent.

"Rotorua is getting very busy, especially on the main arterial roads. If people are not being considerate then you will have a problem," Mr Molloy said.

He said slow driving on its own was not likely to cause a crash, but could cause problems if people were in a hurry.

"It's just people who are not aware and are inconsiderate - they just aren't thinking of other people. If a slow driver has a build up of 10 or 15 cars behind, the frustration levels go through the roof, and that can be quite dangerous," he said.

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

Rotorua police Sergeant Simon Betchetti said it was an interesting topic.

"From a local perspective because we have such a high traffic flow to and from Rotorua we do see a lot of slow drivers.

"People do become impatient and we get big lines backed up and the risk is drivers can make an incorrect judgment of how much room they have to pass.

"If you need to drive slow for any reason, let people pass safely and be mindful of who is behind you.

"The overall message is always drive to the conditions and be aware of those around you."

He said in his experience it wasn't just elderly people who drove slow but it was people across all ages.

"With the slow drivers I've dealt with it's certainly not restricted to older people.

"People need to realise it's an offence to impede the flow of traffic," he said.

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

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.

"They need to appreciate that it is not worth the risk and the risks they take lead to minimal journey time savings.

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

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."

New Zealand Trucking Association chief executive David Boyce said in May this year the association launched a campaign called 'Sharing the road safely with big trucks'.

The campaign is now taught in schools, to community groups and to other truck drivers.

"We worked with NZTA and the cycling community and found a lot of issues with all road users not knowing how to be safe on the road. It's about understanding what trucks can and can't do.

"A big problem is if the trucks are doing 90km/h and the cars are doing 100km/h it means you need a lot of clear space on the other side of the road to pass.

"It's about making sure we are safe."

He said drivers coming up behind a truck should check whether they can see the driver's mirrors - if you can't they won't see you.

"If you are going to pass indicate your intentions so the drivers know when you are going to go through their blind spot."

The programme is intended to help change road behaviour and increase road safety.

Slow drivers:

* 58 tickets for slow or inconsiderate driving given to Bay of Plenty motorists in 2015.

* The third highest of any policing district in the country.

* Slow drivers can be issued a $150 fine.

* Southern police district dished out the most tickets.

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