Too few know 20kmh rule
With the school holidays ending, Waikato police want motorists to start the new term with a blemish- free report card and remember to acknowledge the speed limit around school buses.
Hauraki- Piako Road Policing supervisor Sergeant Dean Kaio said during the two weeks leading up to the school holidays, his officers carried out a prevention operation that showed driver knowledge of the 20kmh speed limit when passing a signed, stationary school bus on either side of the road was poor.
‘‘ We used marked and unmarked patrol cars to travel along rural school bus routes to monitor behaviour around school buses picking up or dropping off children and what we saw caused us some concern.
‘‘Our staff were watching not only driver behaviour around buses but also parents’ behaviours in and around the bus pickup points and the safe/unsafe pickup points used by the buses.’’
Kaio said police officers who saw concerning behaviour would break away from the school bus and engage with the motorist as it was an education-driven initiative as opposed to an enforcementdriven one.
‘‘A real concern was that all the drivers spoken to claimed no knowledge about the 20kmh speed limit.
‘‘Most were issued with a written traffic warning, though some were issued infringement offence notices, and we hope that those people we stopped and spoke to, then told their friends and family.
‘‘A real bonus has been the way the community has got behind the issue following initial media coverage with a couple of rugby clubs adding the question: ‘ What is the legal speed limit for passing a stationary school bus?’ into their quiz night questions.’’
Kaio said it was through this grassroots support he hoped the message would sink in.
‘‘Last year five pedestrians died on Waikato roads and when you consider that road safety is no accident, we want to be able to give all Waikato motorists an ‘A’ pass for the end of next term,’’ Kaio said.
Constable Kate Brown with Tatanui school students. Police are advising motorists to remember the speed limit around school buses.