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Operation Snowflake praises vehicle safety


Passenger transport vehicle operators whose vehicles and drivers were checked as part of Operation Snowflake at the Mount Hutt Ski Area today have been praised by the NZ Transport Agency for their commitment to vehicle safety.

The NZ Transport Agency's Southern Regional Access & Use Manager Kieran Turner says of the 10 vehicles checked by the four transport officers all complied with the vehicle safety checks.

"This was very pleasing, as on occasion in the past vehicles have been red-stickered and new buses have had to be brought up to the ski-field to transport passengers home where vehicles have been found to be unsafe.

"Today's results show that there has been an improvement in operator awareness around the need to maintain vehicles and that the safety message is being listened too."

Operation Snowflake is one of the many operations undertaken by the Transport Agency on an annual basis to improve vehicle safety and road user behaviour.

The transport officers spent the day in the Mount Hutt Ski Area car-park checking drivers of large and small passenger service vehicles.

Mr Turner says while the vehicles met all safety checks, two of the vehicles had no current road user charges, there was no log book in one of the buses and one driver was not carrying their driver's licence.

"These are still breaches that need to be addressed to ensure we also have an efficient and effective transport network."

He says while the focus of the checks was on ensuring the vehicles and drivers complied with all relevant licensing and safety requirements, it was also a great opportunity to educate drivers about the importance of vehicle safety.

"The Transport Agency had targeted the school holidays as these tend to be a busy time for ski-fields and this is when groups often hire chartered buses and vans and head to the mountains.

"The extreme weather conditions experienced on ski-fields means it is critical that these types of vehicles are roadworthy, complying with the current Certificate of Fitness, and that the operators are leaving nothing to chance when carrying passengers."