Operation Hannah: Safety checks at ski fields
Police are carrying out Operation Hannah again these school holidays, checking vehicles and drivers are operating safely on ski field roads.
Operation Hannah is a multi-site operation targeting vehicles in and around ski fields including passenger services vehicles ensuring their safe operation on icy mountainous roads.
It comes after 11-year-old Hannah Francis was tragically killed when a bus carrying 31 passengers crashed near Tūroa ski field in 2018.
It focuses on improving both vehicle safety and work-related road safety through road safety prevention, compliance and education.
During the school holidays, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Team (CVST) and district staff will be at these seven major ski fields targeting PSVs to make sure they are in a safe condition, compliant and being operated in a safe manner:
• Mt Ruapehu – Whakapapa
• Mt Ruapehu – Turoa
• Mt Hutt
• Coronet Peak
• The Remarkables
• Treble Cone
Previous operations identified that passenger service vehicles utilised to access the ski fields may not be compliant to Certificate of Fitness standards and therefore present a high risk of potential harm being caused.
Police successfully deployed Operation Hannah from July 23 to August 1, which included checking seatbelts were being worn, and drivers showed no sign of fatigue or impairment, and were driving to the conditions and not speeding.
A total of 233 vehicles were inspected, 83 of them at North Island ski fields and 150 at South Island ski fields.
About 122 of them (53 per cent) were PSVs (large and small combined), 27 in the North Island and 95 in the South Island.
Of the 233 vehicles inspected nationwide, 209 of them (90 per cent) passed without fault, and 24 (10 per cent) had an action taken.
“These school holidays, Police CVST with support from district Police, will be at ski fields and other key winter destinations checking the safety of all vehicles,” Acting Police Commercial Vehicle Safety Team National Manager Acting Inspector Mike McRandle says.
“We want everyone to be able to experience and enjoy New Zealand’s great outdoors. More importantly, we want everyone travelling on our roads to do so safely.”
The roads to and from the ski fields are mountainous, are more likely to have fewer road safety infrastructures than our state highways and more likely to have ice and snow on the road surface. These combined conditions place greater strain on a vehicle and driver ability.
“Operating a vehicle or PSV in a ski field environment is unique,” Acting Inspector McRandle says.
“We are pleased to see that the majority of drivers and PSV operators take road safety responsibilities seriously, but we still see room for improvement which is why activities like Operation Hannah are so important.”
Police will be highly visible on the roads leading to and from the ski fields making sure drivers drive to the conditions, don’t speed and are not showing signs of fatigue or impairment, and checking to make sure everyone is wearing a seatbelt.
“We want to make sure everyone travelling to enjoy the snow can do so safely from when they leave home until they return.”