Tuesday, 10 February 2009 - 1:14pm |
National News

School safety message ignored

1 min read

Police caught almost 350 drivers speeding past South Island schools along State Highway One, in the first week children returned from their holidays.

Under the first phase of Operation Tahi, a five-month exercise to improve safety along State Highway One, police focused on the 75 South Island schools and childcare centres on or within 250m of the highway.

Drivers were issued 109 tickets on the spot, with a further 240 tickets to follow from stationary speed camera cars.

"Even one speeding ticket past a school is unacceptable, but this number shows too many drivers are ignoring the message," says Neville Hyland, acting Road Policing Manager for Canterbury. "The message is simple: slow down around schools."

The highest speed past a school was 132 km/h in a 100 km/h zone outside Hapuku School, north of Kaikoura, and a truck was caught travelling at 88 km/h past Woodend School in a 50 km/h zone in North Canterbury.

Police also targeted open-road stretches of State Highway One, issuing more than 1,000 tickets across the South Island for the week, including offences such as driving while disqualified, and having no warrant of fitness or registration.

The most dangerous speed recorded was a motorcycle travelling at 200 km/h. The rider will be charged with reckless driving and failing to stop for police. A vehicle was caught towing a trailer at 124 km/h, and another was caught outside Omihi school at 105 km/h. The speed limit towing a trailer is 90 km/h.

Although other phases of Operation Tahi will include alcohol and drugs, careless and dangerous driving, and high-risk and disqualified drivers, Hyland says the focus on safety around schools will remain throughout the year.