While there is no excuse for speeding, Northland drivers seem to be giving it their best shot when pinged by officers - including a motorist who told police they were rushing home for sex.
From stuck jandals, drying the car after washing, to blaming electric vehicles for being too silent, highway patrol officers have heard it all, Northland roading manager Anne-Marie Fitchett said.
Fitchett recalled the wildest justification given by a driver during a stop was the excuse of “hurrying home for sex”.
“For another, it was about being vegan and consuming too many berries that the driver needed to use the toilet.”
For many, however, the excuses were simple, “they either ran out of gas or were running late for the office or dropping off their kids at school”.
As people set out for their summer holidays and the roads get busier, Fitchett is reminding motorists that while their excuses may be humorous, the consequences aren’t.
“What’s not funny is attending a fatal crash and being the bearer of bad news to the families involved,” she said.
Since January, 33 people lost their lives in crashes. The majority of these were because of people speeding and not wearing seatbelts.
“Just last week we lost two teens to a car crash for such reasons. Kids who should have been spending quality time with their families this Christmas.
“Everyone thinks that it won’t happen to me, but it can happen to anyone.”
Fitchett said speed cameras on Northland roads had captured 51,381 speed offences since the start of 2023.
Police had issued 10,399 speed offence notices – 66 per cent of them from rural areas where fatalities are most reported.
As well, 2541 seatbelt infringements and 785 infringements were issued for using mobile phones while driving a vehicle.
“All of these offences were conscious choices that people made, but everyone can make a different and safer one.”
She urges motorists to maintain patience and tolerance while driving this holiday season and plan their journey with plenty of rest stops to enjoy a safe summer.
“It would be great if, by the end of it, we do not lose any further lives on the roads in Northland. That would be my utopia.”
Her message is simple: “Less speed means less harm.”
“We want you to get to your destination, so slow down, drive to the speed limit and drive to the conditions.
And know that you can expect to see police on the roads, anytime and anywhere.”
Avneesh Vincent is the crime and emergency services reporter at the Advocate. He was previously at the Gisborne Herald as the arts and environment reporter and is passionate about covering stories that can make a difference. He joined NZME in July 2023.