He was a nice man and he wore a stab-proof vest. “Good afternoon” the nice man said and to get a better look at Driver he crouched.
“Hi” we said in chorus.
“One hundred and thirteen” the man said and he surveyed the contents of our car. Driver stared at his speedometer.
“Been doing a bit of cycling I see.” The man straightened and he indicated with a jerk of his head to the rear of our car.
“Where are you from?”
“Sunny Hawkes Bay” Driver answered.
“Hmm. You’re a long way from home … have you had a nice holiday?”
“So where have you come from today?” the man asked next.
The man frowned. “That’s quite a drive.”
“Yeees … I sup-pose” said Driver.
“Have you taken a break?” the man asked.
“Yes!” We answered together.
“We stopped at Maruia Springs and also at the falls and we would have stopped beside the river back there but the wind …” That was me.
“Well that’s good” said the nice man and his smile was like a pat on the head.
“Where are you heading to?”
“Picton” Driver mumbled.
“You’ve still got a way to go then.” The frown returned.
“Mmmm” said Driver.
“Have you got your license on you?”
“Yes as a matter of fact I do!” Driver lunged for the item required and he handed it to the man in the stab-proof vest, passing it up to him through the open window.
“Wait here – will you – while I run this through the computer.” The man strode to his own car parked a little way from ours. The slim red and blue lights continued to signal to on-coming traffic. Two cars drove by. We waited.
“You’ve got a lot a licenses” the nice man chuckled when he handed Driver’s license back to him, “They’re all clean though – so that’s good – would you mind breathing into this before you go?” He stuck a thing like a checkout scanner at Driver. “Just count to five and it might tell me if you’ve had one too many cups of English Breakfast.”
(Funny!) We laughed anyway.
“Great!” said the nice man. “I am not going to give you a ticket because … it’s all done electronically now. Have a great holiday – what’s left of it – have a safe trip home!”
“Why do you have ‘a lot’ of licenses?” I asked Driver as we drove from the scene of the crime.
“He meant classes of license” Driver replied. “You know, heavy vehicle, heavy trailer, motor bike, self-laying tracks, class A vehicle license …”
“Oh” said I. “Phew.”
The New Zealand Police want long-distance drivers to ‘take a break’. When you stop to have a cup of tea or coffee you reduce driver fatigue. You will also get to enjoy the in-between places like Tarras and Maruia Springs. It takes longer but what’s the hurry?