Drivers' behaviour near schools good - police

20:24, Feb 06 2013

Southern police are pleased with the behaviour of motorists, halfway through a three-week campaign targeting driving near schools and schoolbus routes.

Southland road policing manager Senior Sergeant John Pine said the campaign, which runs until February 15, focuses on speed, parking and road hazards, pedestrian and cyclist behaviour, and behaviour around pedestrian crossings.

A few infringement notices had been issued for excessive speed and graduated drivers not keeping to their restricted conditions, but overall there was not a big problem and the emphasis was more on supporting the schools and their road patrols, Mr Pine said.

"We just want to be seen, to let people know we're out and about and obviously give them [road users] a moment of pause before they do anything silly or try and take a shortcut."

Many high school students would be new drivers and were still developing their awareness of the need to look well ahead for potential hazards, so it was important they kept their speed down.

Meanwhile, one of the most common problems was motorists not seeing buses delivering or picking up students and slowing down to the required 20kmh.

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This was particularly an issue on arterial roads, he said.

Although Southland Boys' High School, in Herbert St, was a high- volume area, drivers were generally alert and reactive.

However, motorists "zipping along" the more open Queens Dr around the James Hargest College junior campus needed to be just as careful, he said.

The new road-marking layout at Otatara School in Dunns Rd appeared to be working well.

"Traffic [there] has been good. Lots of cars [have] parked in surrounding streets with parents going with their kids all the way into the school."

With one week to run, the campaign had not raised any significant new concerns for police.

"I don't see any big red flags here, which is good."

The Southland Times