‘Slow down near schools’ – police

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It’s back to school and police are campaigning to get people to take care when driving past school buses.

Dunedin, Waitaki and Clutha Police will be involved in a road policing campaign targeting excessive speed around schools and school bus routes for the next few weeks.

Dunedin will be using both speed cameras and lasers and strictly enforcing speed limits within a school zone, which is within 250m of school boundaries.

Oamaru Police Community Constable Bruce Dow said as there were no designated school zones in Oamaru, they would not be enforcing the speed limits within school zones.

“What we’re really after here is to make people more aware of school buses,” he said.

Any vehicle travelling past a stationary school bus that is stopped to pick students up or drop them off needs to slow down to 20km/h.

The main thing was about educating people about the speed limit around school buses, he said.

“People aren’t aware,” he said.

“I’ve been advocating that there should be signs on buses stating the speed limit.”

Oamaru Police would also have two or three staff a day going to schools during the morning and afternoon, Community Constable Dow said.

“It’s all to do with safety for kids at the end of the day.

“If you can save anyone from getting injured or worse, then that has to be a plus.”

Dunedin road policing manager Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall said the campaign took place at the start of every term to remind people to drive safely around schools.

“It is really about trying to slow them down,” he said.

“It’s a new term and a new start for some students so we need to be extra careful with our driving habits around schools.”

Pembroke School principal Brent Godfery said their school had a system in place where parents who were picking up their children from school were asked to come into the school grounds to prevent the children being out by the road alone.

During the campaign, Dunedin, Waitaki and Clutha Police will be monitoring drivers at peak school traffic times, which are 7.30-9am and 2.30-4pm.

They will also be monitoring school bus routes and enforcing the 20km/h restriction that applies for vehicles passing a stationary school bus.

The campaign will run until February 15.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

SAFETY FIRST: Oamaru Police community constable Bruce Dow with Pembroke School principal Brent Godfery and pupils Alazei Marshall, 9 and Tuhimate Marshall, 6, reminding people to take care when driving near schools.