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Hamilton schools take lead on road safety

Hamilton schools take lead on road safety

The introduction of 40km/h speed zones around 18 Hamilton schools will make it safer for young children travelling to and from school, Transport Minister Annette King and Education Minister Chris Carter said today.

Ms King this morning officially 'switched on' 40km/h speed zone signs at Fairfield Intermediate and Fairfield Primary Schools, two of 18 Hamilton primary and intermediate schools taking part in the new road safety initiative.

The speed limits around the Hamilton schools are a first for the city, she said. "With the new school year, it is important to get off to a good start in road safety. The 40km/h speed limits send a strong message that speeding around schools is dangerous and won't be tolerated," says Ms King.

"Because children are small and often easily distracted and unpredictable, drivers have to be extra vigilant when driving near schools."

Education Minister Chris Carter congratulated the Hamilton community on the introduction of lower speed zones around such a high number of schools, and said it was a great road safety initiative with which to begin the new school year.

"With thousands of young New Zealanders heading back to school this week, this sends a positive message to all drivers that speeding near schools endangers the lives of students and it also sends a reassuring message to parents that their children will be safer on the journey to and from school."

Ms King says the dangers to children from speeding drivers is illustrated by the fact that in the past five years, more than 1200 child pedestrians and cyclists have been killed or injured during school terms. In Hamilton, 31 young pedestrians and 28 young cyclists have been injured.

"It is encouraging to see so many schools, the Police and local authorities working together to make the roads safer for our children. It also gives parents peace of mind that the school gate is a much safer place.

"The introduction of slower speed zones at schools in other parts of the country have produced positive results, with more children choosing to walk or cycle to school and drivers taking more care when travelling by," says Ms King.

Hamilton West MP Martin Gallagher said he was very pleased to see such a positive outcome emerge as a result of the community and schools working so closely with the Government and government agencies.


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