Drivers quick to dob others in

New Zealand's *555 service has been running red hot this festive season with reports of bad driver behaviour across Mid and South Canterbury.

There were 241 traffic events reported in the area through the *555 line over 10 days from December 24 to January 2.

The quick dial code allows motorists to report dangerous driver behaviour when they see it happening, which police in the area then respond to.

Senior Sergeant Randel Tikitiki, of Timaru police, said *555 calls outnumbered any other type of call that came in for the area over the New Year period.

However, not all motorists reported were caught. "There's some we don't catch up with."

Those who are stopped are either prosecuted or warned for their driving behaviour.

"We're prepared to prosecute if all the circumstances suggest it's the best thing to do - as long as we've got a witness."

Senior Constable Russell Halkett, of Fairlie Police, responded to a *555 call yesterday afternoon when a motorist passed numerous cars before "elbowing" his way back into the line of traffic despite there being no gap.

"I caught up with him, but I didn't give him a ticket," Mr Halkett said.

Instead, he gave him a warning.

Mr Halkett said in most cases he catches up with the motorists.

"If I don't get them the next station usually picks them up."

The most common complaint he received was for people crossing the centre line "multiple" times.

He said complaints about motorists holding up traffic were also common. In many of those cases, motorists were driving too slow or towing trailers, which prompted other drivers to pass when it was not safe to.

"They think they are going to get there faster, but they get caught up further up the road anyway."

The majority of *555 calls reported in Mid and South Canterbury between December 24 and January 2 were classed as "traffic offending".

One of the calls, from a Waimate motorist, related to an animal.

Motorists in the Tekapo/Twizel region prompted the most calls, followed by those in the Waimate, Geraldine and Fairlie areas.

The Timaru Herald