Friday, 27 February 2009 - 3:22pm |
National News

Watch your speed around schools & school buses

2 min read

27 February 2009

With 'Operation Back To School' completed Police are warning motorists not to get too complacent and to watch their speeds around schools and school buses.

Around 30 tickets were issued in the first few weeks of the first term, mostly for drivers exceeding the 40km/h special speed zone around Hamilton schools.

Sergeant Phil Ruddell of the Hamilton Strategic Traffic said Police would be maintaining a vigilant eye on driver behaviour in and around city schools.

"And drivers should be aware the number of schools where the 40km/h speed restriction applies is being increased and we'll be back with the second phase of Operation Back To School at the beginning of next term."

While kids returning to school means a lot of traffic congestion on city roads as parents drop youngsters off it also means an increase in the number of cyclists in and around the city with students preferring the pedals to 'Shank's Pony'.

"We're asking drivers to watch out for last week we had an 11-year-old boy suffer leg injuries in a collision with a bus on Silverdale Rd and this morning a cyclist suffered a dislocated hip in a collision with a car at the Killarney Rd- Greenwood St intersection."

School buses are another area of concern both within the City and on rural roads and Police are reminding drivers of the 20km/h speed restrictions for passing a school bus dropping off or picking up children.

Principal of Gordonton School, David McNair, said pupils from his school had already experienced a near miss recently.

"A bus destined for our school was involved in a close call when a wing mirror on a truck clipped the bus as it went passed," he said.

Though no-one was hurt and the truck driver pulled up a short distance away the incident was too close for comfort and was totally avoidable according to Waikato Road Policing Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman.

"The maximum speed for a vehicle approching a stationary school bus from the rear or from the front is 20km/h and it applies to traffic travelling in both directions.

"Last year we had several near misses involving children getting on or off school buses and in 2007 three young people died in such incidents, the risks are just too great to ignore," said Mr Tooman.

With 46 people dying in 42 crashes on Waikato roads last year Mr Tooman said the public had every right to expect a highly visible Police presence on the District's roads.

"And that's what they'll get as we endeavour to reduce the number of victims of road trauma in the Waikato."