Public warned off taking car keys

Legal experts, police, the Ministry of Transport, the Rental Vehicle Association and even Prime Minister John Key have now warned against the practice of snatching keys.

Dr Chris Gallavin, dean of law at the University of Canterbury, described taking keys from drivers as ''highly risky behaviour''.

''You're exposing yourself to trespass actions in civil law, allegations of theft, and the prospect of things escalating to the level of being assaulted, or assaulting somebody.''

He believes police might soon make a ''symbolic arrest'' to signal that the practice will not be tolerated.

Police advise motorists to phone 111 or *555 or film bad driving while waiting for officers to arrive.

Mr Key said yesterday that Kiwi drivers were just as bad as tourist drivers, if not worse.

He added the public should never take the law into their own hands.

Rental Vehicle Association , vice-president Mark Righton agreed.

The Otago Daily Times was aware of two further complaints to police concerning foreign drivers in Dunedin this week.

The first incident was in Great King St North on Monday afternoon.

Police in Dunedin referred any questions to Police National Headquarters in Wellington.

Yesterday, police confirmed a visiting driver was spoken to and issued with an infringement for a minor driving offence after a complaint.

Another driver at the scene was also spoken to regarding a separate complaint, a spokesman said.

''We again remind motorists to let police deal with any complaints regarding driving behaviour, who will take action as appropriate.''

Yesterday, police were called to another incident involving a foreign driver in a rental car.

They were called to Waitati after a truck driver became concerned about the vehicle's slow speed along the 100kmh stretch of state highway.

The Asian occupants of the vehicle were waiting inside a dairy at Waitati yesterday afternoon, after the truck driver had told them to stay in the store for the police to arrive.

- Hamish McNeilly and NZME 

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