An operation targeting drink driving on Northland's Ninety Mile Beach was the first of several planned at peak times along the coast this summer, police say.
On Saturday members of Kaitaia-based road policing team patrolled Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē from mid-afternoon to dusk, stopping every vehicle between Te Kohanga (Shipwreck Bay) and The Bluff, a popular fishing area.
Acting Sergeant Matt Cotching said of the 60 drivers breath-tested, not one was over the limit.
''It was a bit of a litmus test to find out if there was a drink-driving problem on the beach. The result bodes well, that it's not a huge problem,'' he said.
The operation also served as a trial ahead of the Snapper Bonanza later this summer when police would be out in force, he said.
Police also brought a laser speed gun to get a handle on how fast people were driving.
While open road rules currently apply on the beach, the 100km/h limit will be reduced later this year as part of the Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē Management Plan and a council review of all roads in the district.
Cotching said a number of drivers were clocked at 100km/h, which was ''way too fast'' given the danger posed by soft sand and limited visibility at the time.
Police drove at a maximum of 60km/h, which they found to be appropriate for the conditions.
''The new limit will make the beach a lot safer,'' he said.
Police used two four-wheel-drive utes and a side-by-side ATV during the operation.
They were accompanied by Fisheries officers checking for breaches of fishing regulations.
In the past there had been little enforcement on Ninety Mile Beach due to stretched resources.
''But we're planning to do more operations, particularly around the Snapper Bonanza fishing competition and other high-use times. People can expect to see us out and about,'' Cotching said.
The Far North District Council sought feedback last year on revised speed limits in the Kaitaia-Awaroa area, including Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach.
A council spokesman said recommendations based on public feedback were due to be considered on April 7, when elected members would vote on the new limits.
It was not yet known when the new beach speed limit would take effect but it would be before July 1, he said.
The Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē Management Plan calls for a 60km/h limit on the beach and 30km/h around access and launching points.
Serious accidents are common on the beach, often caused by vehicles rolling after hitting soft sand at speed.
The danger is heightened when people fail to wear seat belts, causing them to be thrown out of the vehicle and, if they're unlucky, crushed underneath it.
In October 2020 two motorbikes collided on Ninety Mile Beach, leaving one rider with serious head injuries. Neither was wearing a helmet.
In January 2018 a 43-year-old man died when a four-wheel-drive rolled near Waipapakauri Ramp. Two others were critically injured.
In December 2017 two children and an adult were hurt when a vehicle rolled north of Ahipara's Kaka St ramp.
In March 2016 another man was critically injured when his vehicle rolled 10km south of The Bluff.