Slow down near schools: police

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With the school term officially starting this week, Oamaru police are urging drivers to slow down.

Police around the Southern District are undertaking a road policing campaign which will target excessive speed around schools and school bus routes starting today.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said Oamaru police would be out in full force before and after school over the next few weeks to make sure people obeyed the road rules and slowed down near schools and school buses.

“We want to make sure our young people get to school safely.”

Southern District acting Road Policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said the campaign’s aim was to prevent fatal and injury crashes involving children around schools.

“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.

“Parents need to be mindful of not double-parking or parking on yellow lines when dropping students off and give themselves plenty of time to get children to school safely.”

It was particularly important to be aware of younger schoolchildren because they might not be so aware of other things happening around them and could have difficulty judging the speed of moving vehicles, he said.

“Many will also be learning to deal with a new and unfamiliar environment if they are starting at a new school.”

Drivers needed to be aware of children on bikes, as some would have received new ones for Christmas and might be riding these to school for the first time, Snr Sgt Larking said.

“There are also many high school age students who are new drivers and it’s important for them and for more experienced motorists to be aware of the risks and drive at a reduced speed.”

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

Drivers travelling more than the posted speed limit could be issued an infringement notice.

During the campaign, police will be monitoring drivers primarily at peak school traffic times (7.30am-9am and 2.30pm-4pm).

Staff will also be monitoring school bus routes and enforcing the 20kmh restriction that applies for vehicles passing a stationary school bus that is stopped for the purpose of picking up or letting students off a bus.

The campaign will run until February 13.