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Rural School Road Safety Initiatives Welcomed

Media release

25 January 2013

For immediate release

Rural School Road Safety Initiatives Welcomed

Rural Women New Zealand has cause to celebrate ‘Back to School’ this year as two rural safety initiatives it’s been promoting get the green light.

“We have been advocating for safer speeds around rural schools for several years, and are thrilled that variable speed limits are to be extended to 23 rural schools, following the success of a trial at seven rural schools in 2012, says Rural Women New Zealand national president, Liz Evans.

“We’re also delighted that a trial of active, flashing, 20km/h signage is to go ahead on a fleet of school buses in Ashburton early this year, with funding approved just before Christmas.

“Our rural children are often placed in very vulnerable situations getting to and from school, and we welcome both these initiatives to raise driver awareness and slow down traffic,” says Mrs Evans. “We will be actively promoting both these to our nationwide network of members.”

In the first trial, the NZ Transport Agency says the variable speed limits have resulted in an improvement in driver behaviour and reduction in speeds around the rural schools that took part, and the trial will be extended to 23 sites by the end of 2013.

The variable speed limit is set at 70km/h past schools in 100km/h zones, and 60km/h for schools in 80km/h areas.

The speeds are displayed on electronic signs, which allow the speed limit to be changed locally at agreed times.

Mrs Evans says it’s encouraging to see innovative technological solutions being used to solve safety concerns.

“Technology is also the answer when it comes to reminding drivers about the 20km/h speed limit past school buses, and it’s exciting that the Road Safety Trust has approved funding for a trial of active signage on school buses.”

The four stage trial with a bus company in Ashburton is expected to get underway in the next few weeks.

Bright 20km/h signs with flashing lights will be illuminated to alert drivers to the speed limit in both directions when passing a school bus that has stopped for children to get on and off.

The additional schools in the variable speed limit trial are:

• Amisfield School, Waikato

• Ararimu School, Papakura

• Dairy Flat School, Dairy Flat

• Elstow-Waihou Combined School, Matamata Piako

• Kaimai School, Western Bay of Plenty

• Loburn School, Waimakariri

• Newstead School, Waikato

• Opoutere School, Thames Coromandel

• Pahoia School, Western Bay of Plenty

• Puni School, Waiuku

• Pyes Pa Road School, Western Bay of Plenty

• Swannanoa School, Waimakariri

• Te Wharekura o Te Rau Aroha School, Matamata Piako

• Tirohia School, Hauraki

• Waikuka School, Waimakariri

• Westmere School, Wanganui

ENDS

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