It takes a fully loaded logging truck one-and-a-half rugby fields to come to a complete stop, Kereru School students learnt yesterday .

This message came among many others which the Hawke's Bay Forestry Group delivered during a visit to the primary school.

The school is one of 10 that the group will visit because they have been identified as the ones where children are most likely to encounter trucks.

The forestry group's chief executive officer Keith Dolman said the group had had concerns about the safety of logging trucks for a while and had contracted someone to teach them how to deliver an effective safety programme.


"It's been our concern for a while to make sure kids are more savvy about to be safe around logging trucks."

Already five schools have received the three-hour programme where students are encouraged to clamber over the truck, sit in the driver's seat and familiarise themselves with the vehicle.

He said it was important for the children to realise how much room the trucks take up on the road, to be aware of the truck's size and the fact that drivers were people and not machines and could make mistakes.

The programme had not been without cost, Mr Dolman said, but it had so far been spoken of highly and they were thinking of expanding it.

Principal Chris Birch said the programme highlighted a number of safety measures and was imperative with them passing the school gates, loaded and unloaded, 56 times each day.

He said they talked about things such as blind spots,giving each of the 29 children who attend the school an opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the truck to see for themselves.

After being given a bright orange beanie the children were also told what to do when they were walking along the same road a truck was driving on.

"It was actually quite an eye-opener as to how many blind spots they do have in a big truck.

"It was about making them aware of the dangers but also making it a positive experience."

Mr Birch said it was useful for both the students and the staff members with trucks taking "one-and-a-half foot ball fields to come to a complete stop".

Mr Dolman said all people needed to realise the huge size of trucks and to always be aware when around them.