School children in Omarama return to class on Monday, and
motorists have been put on notice to keep their speed down.
Following continued problems with speeding motorists ignoring
the 50kmh limit outside Omarama School, the New Zealand
Transport Agency (NZTA) has installed electronic speed
feedback signs at the approach to the school on State Highway
8. Constable Nayland Smith, of Omarama, said he was hopeful
the new signs would improve motoring behaviour.
''The signs were installed in late December and appear to be
having the desired effect. Locals have commented that they
have noted a drop in speeders going through the town.
''What I have seen has also been pretty promising.''
However, Const Smith said the the proof would be ''in the
pudding'', and as part of a district-wide road policing
campaign, speed checks would be conducted outside the school
every day for the next two weeks.
A similar operation in November dished out 145 speeding
tickets in two weeks, but Const Smith said he hoped there
would be '' a big improvement'' this time.
He would also keep a close eye on the results of variable
speed limit signs, which have been trialled at seven rural
schools by NZTA.
The signs, which allow schools to lower speed limits outside
school premises during drop-off and pick-up times, are
expected to be rolled out to another 16 schools by the end of
the year. None of the selected schools are in Otago.
Southern District Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Steve
Larking said police throughout Otago would be out in force
next week at the start of the new school year, as part of a
three-week operation and warned that anyone travelling at
5kmh over school zone speed limits would be issued with an
Snr Sgt Larking said the 20kmh speed restriction on vehicles
passing a stationary school bus that had stopped to pick up
or drop off pupils, would also be strictly enforced.
''Our aim is to prevent fatal and injury crashes involving
children around schools.
''It's a new term and a new start for some students so we
need to be extra careful with our driving habits around
schools. Parents need to be mindful of not double parking or
parking on yellow lines when dropping students off and give
themselves plenty of time to get children to school safely.''