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School Speed Limit Debacle Needs Leadership

School Speed Limit Debacle Needs Leadership

School terms are starting and care is once again needed around children making their way to school. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds says that all the onus is on drivers to protect children on our roads as there are no concise rules, with consistent low speed limits lacking outside schools. Leadership from minister of transport Simon Bridges and associate minister Craig Foss, is required to bring this about.

In Europe it's a given that speed limits are reduced to 30kph or less outside schools. In New South Wales a consistent 40kph at peak times in school zones has led to a 46% reduction in casualty crashes. In London many residential areas including school zones have had speed limits reduced to 20mph (32kph) with a 50% reduction in child fatalities and serious injuries.

"The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 30kph during peak times near schools, and no more than 60kph at other times. That's achievable and acceptable to drivers. New Zealanders are well travelled and aware of what the rest of the world does to protect its children on roads. The current inconsistent speed limits are a nightmare for drivers as well as children and doesn't fit in with the Safe System approach that we hear so much about," claims Rees who set up NZ School Speeds to rally support for safer travelling conditions for children.

In New Zealand school zone speed limits remain up to 100kph in rural areas and are sometimes reduced to 40kph in urban areas. Distracted children use these school zones, yet our the Ministry of Transport is reluctant to follow advice from the likes of the WHO to reduce the speed limit outside all schools consistently, even during the start and finish of school to the recommended 30kph, despite reports from abroad on road safety improvements for our most vulnerable road users.

"The Government policy statement on land transport says it all: Children and other vulnerable road user are given little thought, with emphasis on getting freight from A to B.

Ultimately the responsibility for road safety provisions for our children lies with Bridges and Foss. It's time to act, they need to take the lead and in the process change the culture of our drivers and make the roads a better place. Don't be complacent and give children Safer Journeys."


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