Liz Dobson: Let’s be careful out there
Tis the season for not only for the annual crackdown on speedsters by New Zealand police but also the silly season for Kiwi drivers.
We’ve just started the 4km/h tolerance above the posted speed limit being enforced by police, while fixed speed cameras operate below that figure.
Another arm of the police that is busy during this time is the *555 set-up. That allows you to report road incidents that are urgent but not life-threatening. The calls go to the police communications centre but are given lower priority than 111 calls.
Driven staff member — and our resident motorcyclist — Mathieu Day has used this system twice in a couple of days:
“Last weekend while driving from Auckland to Matamata in my fiancee’s car, I was caught up in a long line of traffic at Maramarua.
“After 30 minutes of erratic speeds and watching more than one case of desperate overtaking, the culprit was revealed to be a rented Toyota Camry with a very inexperienced driver at the wheel.
“My Fiancee and I called *555 and within five minutes of hanging up one of the police patrolling SH27 had pulled over the offending driver and given them a cautionary reminder on road etiquette on New Zealand roads.
“The officer then called us to let us know the facts and thank us for putting him on to the tourists being a problem.
“Then, while commuting home on my motorbike, I had a road-rage driver trying to intimidate me off the Southern Motorway because he was annoyed at my supposed ‘lane-splitting’.
“After taking down the details of the offending driver, including as good a description as I could muster of both the car and driver, the conversation then turned to counselling me with advice on the best option to take next.
“The operator was a calming influence in a time when emotions were as high as my heart rate.”