Drivers need to exercise caution and courtesy on rural roads, especially when stock is being moved along them.
That’s the message from Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Transport Spokesperson.
Drivers are being advised to show restraint when stock are being moved on rural roads.
“When it comes to stock and public roads, there is an elevation of risk and likewise responsibility for both the farmer and road users.
“Farmers need to ensure their fences and gates are up to standard or they can be liable for any accidents caused. However, drivers who do not drive to the conditions, disregarding the risk of stock on or near roads, can also be held to account.”
Ian says the law is reasonably clear when it comes to farmers’ responsibilities be it fencing through the Animals Law Reform Act 1989 or moving stock under a local council bylaw, but police have done little to educate drivers about driving sensibly on rural roads.
“The real solution lies in a joint effort – farmers remaining vigilant with managing fences and stock, and police better educating drivers about showing caution and courtesy on rural roads. Driving like a bat out of hell at stock being moved along roads is asking for trouble.”
Along with the Police, Federated Farmers is urging land owners, who are required by their local council to have roadside boundary fences, to check the integrity of their fences and gates, and for motorists to drive to the conditions and ensure their vehicles are up to warrant of fitness standard.
“As a community we can prevent unnecessary accidents by doing so and also by reporting any loose stock, open gates or broken fences to the relevant farmer or police. All you need to do is pull into the nearest driveway or dial *555. It could make all the difference,” says Ian.