I don't know what Police Minister Michael Woodhouse found confusing about the zero tolerance on speeding campaign. When police commissioner Mike Bush announced they would enforce the speed limit over summer to reduce fatalities, it's a pretty clear message that drivers could get pinged if they went over 100km/h.

Woodhouse has asked for a review of the public messages police issued on road safety, and says the zero tolerance campaign created confusion in the minds of the public.

Obviously, police still had discretion when it came to ticketing drivers - only 13 tickets were issued nationwide during the Christmas holiday period for drivers 1-4km over the speed limit. Speed cameras allowed a 4km discretion and that appeared to be the bit that some people found confusing. But, really, the message was clear. Slow down.

You can't blame police for wanting to repeat the zero tolerance campaign, given the success of the previous summer. I can't imagine how ghastly it must be to have to knock on someone's door to tell them their husband, brother, daughter or mother will never come home again.


I don't for one second believe zero tolerance is about revenue gathering. How can we possibly criticise the police for enforcing an existing law? Yes, it would be nice to think police are willing to use discretion. If you roared up to 110km/h in a passing lane to overtake a driver pulling a caravan, you would hope a sensible officer would avert his or her eyes. But if they didn't, surely you have only yourself to blame?

The fury that came from talkback callers over the policy was extraordinary. We have a funny old attitude towards driving or at least talkback callers do. They believe they, and they alone, understand what it is to be a good driver and everyone else on the road is an idiot.

Many believe fervently that others should have to abide by the speed limit but not them because they're in a late-model, high-performance car and they know how to drive.

One man told me he travelled thousands of kilometres over summer, saw only three police cars and there needed to have been more on the road. He then said he always drove at the speed limit, other than when he was overtaking someone.

He couldn't bear to be behind another vehicle. It made him feel uneasy so he couldn't relax until he'd overtaken the traffic at whatever speed he deemed necessary to pass. Once he was ahead, he'd slow to the limit. And this was a man critical of other drivers and a lack of police presence?

It's not just speed that kills. Fatigue, alcohol, unfamiliar driving conditions and inattention all play their part. But the difference between crashing at 98km/h and crashing at 118km/h could be the difference between life and death.

Ultimately, 17 people died on our roads - 10 more than last year - and it seems police are being blamed for that. Certainly, they credit their campaigns as successful when the road toll drops but I don't think the converse should apply and that the officers should bear responsibility for the road deaths this summer.

Provisional crash reports indicate alcohol and/or speed contributed to 11 of the 15 fatal crashes and driver fatigue is suspected in two of the fatal crashes. How on earth could anyone blame police for the poor choices made by these drivers?

I didn't do much driving over the break - just one quick trip to Hamilton to take my mum home. I saw plenty of police cars and no mad drivers.

I used to feel I was taking my life in my hands whenever I drove the Auckland-Hamilton route. But now the roads are much better and the police presence is so obvious that the trip is easy and stress-free. Like other drivers, I stuck to the speed limit and found it easy to stay just under 100km/h.

Or so I thought. A couple of days ago, I received a speeding ticket in the mail. I'd been snapped doing 108km/h in the passing lane on the Bombays.

It's a $30 fine and it's entirely my fault. I'm happy to pay it.

Kerre McIvor is on NewstalkZB Monday-Thursday, 8pm-midnight.