Onus on both farm­ers and driv­ers

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers is call­ing for driv­ers and farm­ers to ex­er­cise cau­tion when it comes to stock on or grazing near roads.

‘‘When it comes to stock and pub­lic roads, there is an el­e­va­tion of risk and like­wise re­spon­si­bil­ity for both the farmer and road users,’’ Ian Macken­zie, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Trans­port spokesper­son said.

‘‘Farm­ers need to en­sure their fences and gates are up to stan­dard or they can be li­able for any ac­ci­dents caused.’’

How­ever, driv­ers who do not drive to the con­di­tions, dis­re­gard­ing the risk of stock on/ near roads, can also be held to ac­count, he said.

‘‘The law is rea­son­ably clear when it comes to farm­ers re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, be it fenc­ing through the An­i­mals Law Re­form Act 1989 or mov­ing stock un­der a lo­cal coun­cil by­law, but po­lice have done lit­tle to ed­u­cate driv­ers about driv­ing sen­si­bly on ru­ral roads.

‘‘The real so­lu­tion lies in a joint ef­fort – farm­ers re­main­ing vig­i­lant with man­ag­ing fences and stock, and po­lice bet­ter ed­u­cat­ing driv­ers about show­ing cau­tion and cour­tesy on ru­ral roads.

‘‘Driv­ing like a bat out of hell at stock be­ing moved along roads is ask­ing for trou­ble.

‘‘ Along with the po­lice, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers is urg­ing land own­ers, who are re­quired by their lo­cal coun­cil to have road­side bound­ary fences, to check the in­tegrity of their fences and gates, and for mo­torists to drive to the con­di­tions and en­sure their ve­hi­cles are up to war­rant of fit­ness stan­dard.

‘‘As a com­mu­nity we can pre­vent un­nec­es­sary ac­ci­dents by do­ing the above and also re­port­ing any loose stock, open gates or bro­ken fences to the rel­e­vant farmer or po­lice.

‘‘All you need to do is pull into the near­est drive­way or dial *555.

‘‘It could make all the dif­fer­ence,’’ Macken­zie said.

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