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Drivers asked to be careful of children

Drivers asked to be careful of children crossing roads during the holidays

“Now that the school holidays are here, drivers need to be extra vigilant as children will be out and about at times other than 9am and 3pm,” says Joy Kingsbury-Aitken, the Christchurch City Council’s Schools Co-ordinator.

She says that care will be needed at all intersections, not just those near schools.

At the beginning of term four a successful campaign was run to encourage drivers to give way to children at busy signalised intersections near schools. The campaign was a joint venture with the City Council, Police and the Land Transport Safety Authority and coincided with Kidsafe Week (18-25 October).

The Council’s City Streets Unit identified a number of school communities near busy intersections with signals, that have problems with motorists not giving way to pedestrians. These schools provided volunteer ‘spotters’ before and after school during the campaign, to record the number plates of drivers observed not giving way to pedestrians.

Sixty-nine people subsequently received a letter from the Police informing them that their vehicle had been seen driving in a way that endangered children. One driver received an infringement notice. Four people were sent the letter more than once.

“This campaign was part of an ongoing programme to bring about a change in driver behaviour,” says Kingsbury-Aitken. “School communities involved supported the campaign and believed it was a very worthwhile initiative which raised community awareness of the problem.”

The campaign was especially effective at Heaton Intermediate, Spreydon School and Wairakei School.

“It has been good to give a focus to the intersection and the campaign has made drivers more aware of children,” says Heaton Intermediate principal, David Bycroft. “Most of the incidences were unthinking rather than deliberate, but there have been a number of near misses reported.”

Wairakei School principal, Chris Herrick, noticed an improvement in driver behaviour during the campaign. “However, we have reported a large number of offences to Police, particularly in the afternoons, and red light running is prevalent. Recent improvements by the Council at the intersection of Greers and Wairakei Roads have been very successful in improving pedestrian visibility and safety but cars turning right from Greers Road into Wairakei Road need to take more care.”

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