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Consider the Kids as the School Year Starts

23 January 2013
Consider the Kids as the School Year Starts

The Waikato District Council and Police are reminding drivers to consider the kids as schools get underway away for the new year.

Drivers are reminded to slow down, be vigilant and expect increased traffic and pedestrian volumes around schools. Many children may be starting at new schools and easily distracted by new surroundings or meeting up with friends. Road crossings will be used more frequently at peak times as the number of children walking or using scooters increases.

Waikato district road safety co-ordinator Megan Jolly says younger children have difficulty judging distances and may step out onto a crossing, giving drivers little time to react. “Even older children can become distracted and just step out. Drivers must slow down around schools and be prepared to stop at all crossings,” Ms Jolly said.

“The faster you drive, the harder the impact. A person hit by a vehicle travelling at 30kph has a 95 per cent chance of surviving, whereas the survival rate for someone hit by a vehicle travelling at 50kph is only 55 per cent and at 70kph is only about five per cent,” Ms Jolly said.
Parents dropping children at school also have an important part to play. Parents should be good role models for their children by crossing at approved crossings when available. Cars should be parked legally, as parking on a yellow line even for a second will most likely impede other drivers’ vision. Always have children exit the car from the left on to the footpath.

Police will be patrolling around schools to ensure motorists keep their speeds down. Sergeant Geoff Blow from the Huntly Police Strategic Traffic Unit says drivers must make sure they are constantly vigilant around schools and police will have a low tolerance for breaches of the speed limits.

School buses will also be operating and motorists are reminded that the speed limit for passing a stationary school bus is 20km/ hr. This speed also covers vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. Drivers need to be aware that exceeding the speed limit when passing a school bus can result in a fine, and in some cases, a court appearance and disqualification.


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