Motorists should be prepared to be stopped by police this long weekend as 80 officers will be out patrolling Northland's roads and carrying out checkpoints across the region.

Rosters have been rearranged to ensure a boost in police numbers at critical times this Labour Weekend and police are not making any apologies for targeting idiot drivers.

"There are still some idiots out there that won't live long and these are the ones we want to apprehend and educate that the roads are for everyone not just them," Inspector Wayne Ewers said.

"It's the small percentage that don't care. We want a crash-free Labour Weekend and see everyone get to their destination safely and not put other road users at risk."


Ewers is heading the operation which starts at 4pm today to coincide with the expected increased traffic flow for the long weekend.

A number of rosters had been rejigged over the weekend and a team would also be rostered early on Tuesday morning, focusing on State Highway 1 south of Whangārei.

Today the highways in Northland getting extra police attention would be SH1 and SH10 where up to 15 officers police would be targeting heavy-footed drivers exceeding the speed limit.

The specialist police vehicle equipped with ANPR - Automatic Number Plate Recognition - technology will be out on the roads and will immediately be identifying high-risk drivers who may be disqualified or forbidden, stolen vehicles or vehicles used in petrol drive-offs.

Those failing to display current registrations or warrants of fitness will also be identified in a split second.

Depending on traffic flow, the ANPR unit is capable of scanning up to 3000 plates in one hour.

The rest of the police contingent would be carrying out a series of checkpoints across Northland checking for seatbelts, cellphone use, drunk driving, and any other bad driving behaviours.

More than a third of Northland's fatal crashes last year involved people not wearing seatbelts.


A disastrous start to the year with 22 deaths in the first six months had roading officials predicting a road toll of about 60 fatalities for the year.

But a fatality-free July and September has seen the toll for Northland reach 24 to date. There were a total of 41 road fatalities on the region last year.

Ewers said driving behaviour was improving as he believed there was an increased public awareness about crashes and driving.

He said factors that may also have contributed to fewer fatal crashes over the last few months were a relatively mild winter and the fact fuel prices had increased dramatically.

Ewers encouraged motorists who spotted dangerous driving or suspected a drunk driver to call *555 or 111 if the driving behaviour was so bad it could cause a death.

There will be a fatigue stop northbound on SH1, at Uretiti today from midday to 4.30pm. Motorists will be able to pull over and take a break with free refreshments and road safety information for drivers.