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AA welcomes plans to improve rural school safety


AA welcomes plans to improve rural school safety

The NZ Automobile Association is welcoming government plans to improve road safety around rural schools.

The plans include installing more variable speed limit signs, and developing a guide to identify engineering solutions to improve rural school road safety.

“These proposals are pragmatic, evidence-based solutions that target actual risks, and will improve rural road safety for children and other road users, while also encouraging motorists to travel at safe speeds when children are present,” says AA Principal Advisor Mark Stockdale.

“Making the roads safer around our schools is about more than just speed limits. Independent research shows the best thing that can be done to reduce accidents around schools is to eliminate the need for children to cross the road. That includes things like creating bus bays that are off the road, moving the school gate off the main road, and providing enough car parking for parents on the same side of the road as the school.

“That will reduce the risk of children crossing the road into the path of an oncoming car, regardless of how fast or slow it is travelling,” Mr Stockdale added.

Variable speed limit signs can be set to display a lower speed limit at certain times, like the start or end of the school day or during school events, but display the standard speed limit the rest of the time.

“The AA has campaigned for a long time to have variable school speed signs installed at all schools, funded from the more than $64m in fines that have been issued to motorists since 2006 by Police enforcing speeds in school zones. We are pleased more of these will now be introduced at rural schools to help motorists slow down.

“Just as important is developing a guide to help rural communities, school boards and councils identify and implement appropriate solutions to improve school safety. There is more that local communities can do to improve rural road safety, but they need help identifying practical, effective solutions, and the guide will help do this,” Mr Stockdale said.

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