Are we turning into a nation of traffic vigilantes?

More Kiwi drivers are taking the law into their own hands, with yet another tourist driver having their car keys snatched off them over the weekend.

The incident happened on the Otago Peninsula when two tourists stopped on the side of a narrow road to take a photo, holding up eight cars behind them, the Otago Daily Timesreports.

Dunedin man Robert Penman, who was travelling with his son, told the paper he was moved to act because he had “been in a head-on crash before and I don’t want to be in another one”.

He said he did not believe it was safe to overtake the car, and tried tooting at the couple several times to get them to move on.
When they finally continued driving they were travelling around 20km/h, he said.

Mr Penman called the police and blocked the couple’s exit when they turned into a driveway, at which point an altercation occurred.

“When he started to push me, I went around to the driver’s side and grabbed the keys, and I said ‘you are not going anywhere’,” Mr Penman said.

Southern District acting road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking told theOtago Daily Times he spoke to both Mr Penman and the tourists, with the foreign drivers being given information about where to park safely and Mr Penman told to “calm down”.

The key-snatching episode is believed to be one of at least five similar instances to take place in the last month.

We have two problems here. ?One, that bad driving tourists are putting our lives and families at risk. ?Two, that Kiwis are hijacking tourists on the side of the road.

The thing is, that wasn’t a problem a year ago.

It is a manifestation that everyday people believe that “nothing is being done”. ?At least not in a practical sense.

Nobody is going to worry about getting a telling off from police if the alternative is watching tourists crash into other traffic due to poor driving.

It is clear there is a huge amount of pent up frustration in sections of the population, and that’s now being expressed. ?It won’t take long before there will be violence involved.

Ob the bright side, the high season is coming to an end. ?But unless the problem is seen to be addressed sufficiently, the current wave of anti-self-drive-tourist vigilante incidents will increase.


– NZN, via 3 News