Is anybody there?

In Newsletter Editorial5 MinutesBy Dave McCoidJuly 30, 2021

Today’s editorial is a written reflection of a world we’re crafting ‘for mediocrity or worse’. I reconfigured that old phrase because I’m ever more convinced the word ‘better’ lost its place some time back.

We’re on the road this week, and when I’m on the Auckland motorway, I do my absolute best to abide by any mandatory speed adjustments – for several reasons. First, a red boarded sign means it’s the law; it’s not an advisory. My thinking here is: if you don’t do what it says, at what point are you comfortable with the law being broken, and how far does that go? It also means that you also must have a level of comfort in terms of offences against yourself. Second, if it’s a construction site-related slowdown, I’d love to imagine there’s a busy worker or three in there getting things done, which brings with it risk, of course. Lastly, I do it as a little personal test of self-control: am I a mindless pack follower running with the stupidest member of a dumb-arse herd, or do I still have the power to reason for myself? Not to mention the other self-test: is my life really that busy that I have to?

But it appears one aspect of that reasoning isn’t seen the same way by a couple of parties who you’d think would behave purely on its reasoning alone – I speak to the law side of things. Example one: disappointing, frustrating, but sadly not surprising. Think back to last week Monday. I was coming through the Papakura to Drury 80kph construction-zone restriction, and the driver of a Mercedes-Benz Actros B-train curtain unit left it in cruise and simply ploughed up the fast lane, passing several vehicles. Awesome PR! Great professionalism. I knew it was on cruise because he stayed at the same pace out the other side and I duly caught and passed him somewhere along the Ramarama straight. When truck driving gets so tiresome that you can’t be arsed unhooking cruise for a mandatory speed adjustment, it’s time to no longer be a truck driver.

Example two: this is purely infuriating. You pay taxes expecting those who glean a living via distribution of the public purse to do their job. Not so, it appears. Same place again, this time yesterday, and the traffic’s steaming by me and my business partner Matt. A blue Toyota HiAce van, at the end of the line, followed by a police car, just cruising, two officers in it, casual as you like. Not even a hint of any intention to affect an act as simple as giving the top lights a whirl to warn ole blue HiAce mate that he’s on perilous ground should he continue.

Matt said it was probably a community policing car on its way to a school or something and that the officers didn’t really give a toss. For me, that has no bearing on anything. The fact is, they were in a marked, painted police vehicle that was speeding through a construction zone mandated at 80kph. Their job is to uphold the law. Had they chosen to abide by their own requirements, they may have noticed far more of the traffic sat behind them in an orderly fashion. That would have been them actually doing their job.

Reflecting on both events. I guess there’s a chance the Actros driver had witnessed the same thing at some point and had thought it was all good to hammer it through? I mean, truck drivers are prone to a bit of pack running, particularly those in his age bracket, which appeared to be 25 to 40. Then there’s the slightly more unnerving and ever more prevalent realisation that some police officers are now completely relaxed with a level of lawbreaking and not only fail to see it when it’s happening right in front of them but can’t actually determine when they’ve done it themselves.

All the best

Dave McCoid