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Go Slow Near Schools

Title: Go Slow Near Schools

Police are reminding drivers to slow down near schools as the majority of school children return to school next week, and as the country marks the lowest January road toll on record.

"We will be focusing on enforcing reduced tolerances around schools and will take action against any driver found to be driving more than 4km /hr over the permanent posted speed limit," said Acting National Road Policing Manager, Inspector Pete McKennie.

“The key risk times are weekdays between 7.30am and 9am and from 3pm to 4.30pm when children are dropped off and collected from school,” he said.

“We will be reminding people to slow down when driving near schools, especially during the high risk times and we will be rigorously enforcing speed limits within 250 metres on each side of school boundaries.”

The call comes as last month marked the lowest road toll for January on record, and the fourth lowest month ever, since records first began in 1965.

The provisional road toll for January 2013 stands at 18, which is 17 fewer than for the same period in 2012, and 10 fewer than in 2011. The road toll for February 2012 was 16, among one of the lowest months on record.

“While eighteen deaths for January is still 18 too many – it is encouraging to see the numbers moving in the right direction, and more road users doing the right thing,” said Inspector McKennie. “That said, the challenge to all of us using the roads is to keep up the good effort and maintain our focus behind the wheel if we are to bring that number down further, and spare more families the grief of losing loved ones.

“While Police and its road safety partners are all working hard to improve road safety, it is essential that road users maintain a high level of attention to keep everyone safe on the roads, particularly as children return to school.”

Rural roads present a particular risk as many are located on roads with 100km speed limits and there are large numbers of vehicles including school buses around the school. Making sure that every child arrives and leaves school safely requires special care and attention.

Police introduced the reduced speed tolerance the vicinity of schools in 2006. It targets our most vulnerable road users - child pedestrians.

The probability of death for a pedestrian rises steeply from 10 per cent at an impact speed of 30 km/h to 70 per cent at 50 km/h. The risks for vulnerable pedestrians, such as young children, are higher.

"We really need to reduce speeds around our vulnerable youngsters and we also need to accept that people, including children, will make mistakes on the road. It’s up to all of us to share responsibility for making the roads as safe as we can. Driving at lower speeds around schools when kids are coming and going is part of that," said Inspector McKennie .

Reduce your risks of hitting a child by:
• Always driving to the conditions. This may be at the speed limit or slower. If there are lots of pedestrians and cyclists around, particularly children, then check your speed. Slowing down helps keep kids safe.
• Expecting the unexpected. Drivers need to be ready and able to stop when driving around children.
• Watching out for school speed zones and reducing speed.
• Slowing down to a maximum speed of 20km/h when passing a stationary school bus.


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