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Slow down around crash scenes urge Waikato Police

"Police News Alert Issued *** 8am 21 January 2014 ****"

Reflecting on a busy 24 hours, Eastern Waikato Police are urging motorists to abide by the speed restrictions that apply to crash scenes after several close calls for emergency services yesterday.

Officer in charge of Thames-Coromandel Road Policing, Sergeant Jim Corbett, said of the 19 crashes to happen in the Waikato between 6.30am yesterday and the same time today, 10 happened in the east of the District.

"Perhaps the most time consuming crash was around midday when a trailer carrying a large swimming pool rolled causing the pool and the truck towing it to crash down a bank on SH2 at Waitakaruru.

"A man and his dog were in the cab of the truck at the time of the crash but though shaken the pair were uninjured. The trailer was left blocking the road and a sizeable recovery operation was launched which stopped traffic for quite a while before one lane was able to be reopened."

Mr Corbett said while those involved escaped injury it was a close run thing for attending emergency services who had to watch their backs as motorists ignored the flashing warning lights and signs and continued to drive at speed through the crash scene.

"This type of behaviour is simply not acceptable and motorists ignoring the warning lights and not slowing down at crash scenes can expect enforcement action to be taken.

"At the end of last year we urged drivers to slow down when approaching crash scenes after a number of close calls then. It looks like the message hasn't sunk in and we're again asking people to slow down near crash scenes."

Mr Corbett said it is an offence to exceed 20 km/h past a temporary speed limit where accident signs are displayed. This is for the protection of any injured people and emergency responders as well.

"So, if you see what looks to be a crash scene and emergency services have their emergency lights activated, slow down to 20 km/h and travel slowly through the scene."

With more rain forecasted today, Mr Corbett urged drivers to take care on the roads with conditions proving treacherous for some yesterday.

"Of the 19 crashes in the last 24 hours seven involved cars leaving the road and crashing into ditches, banks, fences, and a bridge.

"Driving to the conditions is crucial, don't forget that even when it has finished raining the roads can still be slippery so drive to socially, allow plenty of room for other road users and plenty of time to get to your destination."

ENDS

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