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Motorist Urged to Stay Alert as School Goes Back

Media Release
4 February 2008

Motorist Urged to Stay Alert as School Goes Back

As children around New Zealand return to school after the holidays ACC is reminding parents and other drivers to be vigilant about the increased number of children on the roads.

``The number of claims ACC receives for children injured in crashes or road incidents as they travel to and from school has increased markedly over the past four years,’’ said Jennifer Brown, ACC’s Public Safety Programmes Managers.

``In 2003/04 ACC received 10,715 claims involving school age children that happened between 8 and 9am and 3 and 5pm. However, for 2006/07 that figure had grown to 18,088.

With a few simple precautions we can significantly reduce the number of children hurt as they travel to school, she said.

ACC’s advice for drivers is to:

* Keep an eye out for children walking, biking and getting on or off buses, particularly during the busy morning and afternoon periods;

* Check carefully when pulling out of driveways, at intersections and near crossings;

* Slow down and be extra alert around schools.

Jennifer Brown is also encouraging parents to use the start of the school year as an opportunity to teach or remind their children about safe behaviour on the roads.

For example:

* Allow plenty of time so you don’t have to rush;

* Always cross at traffic lights or a pedestrian crossing, or find a safe place to cross;

* Look and listen for traffic coming from all directions;

* Stand back on the footpath when waiting for a bus and before crossing the road.

Some children may also be cycling to school for the first time so motorists should be particularly careful around young cyclists. Parents buying bikes should avoid buying one for their child to ``grow into’’ because a bicycle that is too big can be dangerous.

Also, all cyclists must wear the right safety gear, including a helmet and solid footwear, Jennifer Brown said.

``Children can run out from behind parked cars, or walk out on the road without thinking to look, so it’s up to us – drivers and parents – to ensure we keep our children as safe as possible on the roads,’’ Ms Brown said.


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