10 Jul 2016

Hefty bump in slow-driving offences

7:22 pm on 10 July 2016

The number of slow-driving offences last year was the highest it has been in a decade.

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Photo: RNZ / Veronica Schmidt

A total of 515 people were caught driving too slowly or impeding traffic - 20 percent more than in any other year in the past 10 years.

Official figures show 3695 offences have been picked up since 2006, with the most coming out of the Waitemata region - with 533 people caught.

National road policing operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said slow drivers were not a risk on their own.

"The risk is around impatient drivers passing when it is not safe to do so. They need to appreciate that it is not worth the risk and the risks they take, if they don't result in a crash, lead to minimal journey time savings."

There wasn't a particular group police were concerned about regarding who tended to drive slowly or inconsiderately, but those who did needed to find a place to pull over, he said.

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Photo: RNZ / NZ POLICE

Institute of Driver Educators national president Wayne Young agreed it was those stuck behind slow drivers who created problems.

"You've got other people behind trying to make deadlines, they'll try and overtake and pass and sometimes in places where they shouldn't do that like on blind corners, [and] at the no-passing lines, and places like that.

"And it really does place other drivers at risk."

With some drivers, such as elderly people, preferred to go slower than the open road speed, it was important people were understanding, he said.

"Some of them can't always drive at that open road speed at 100km/h and might have to drop their speed by about 5 or 10km/h. I just think that if we all get out there and [are] just a wee bit considerate of one another, I think the driving situation will become a lot safer."

Stricter controls on Sunday drivers needed - AA

Automobile Association spokesman Mike Noon said the increase in the number of slow-driving offences was a good sign.

"The AA would strongly support the police increasing their attention and focus on drivers who are driving unacceptably slow on the roads. Whether they're towing a vehicle, a boat or caravan or whatever it is at the time, that does frustrate the other traffic and it can be the cause of dangerous overtaking if people become very frustrated by slow vehicles."

He did not know why the number jumped last year but said creating a long tail of traffic should be an offence in itself.

"I hope it's because the police are giving it some more attention, you know.

"We have actually surveyed AA members on this and, from memory, it was either four or six vehicles which members were keen to see that being an offence, as at the moment it's a judgement offence by the officer."

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