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Government Failing School Children at Road Safety

3rd May 2015

Government Failing School Children at Road Safety

It's UN Global Road Safety Week from 4th to 10th of May and a good time for the Government to stop ignoring World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, who lobbies Government to lower speed limits outside schools, claims they fall well short in following recommendations and are failing school children and their families with inconsistencies on the road.

WHO recommends the maximum speed of 30km/h outside schools. Urban schools often have 40km/h speed limits, yet the act of stepping out of a school gate in rural locations can be perilous, with some schools on 100km/h roads. And that's not where the inconsistencies end.

"There are laws that protect school children getting on and off the school bus with a 20km/h rule, yet few drivers abide by this rule, endangering those vulnerable individuals who use the service." Ms Rees puts the lack of compliance down to the fact that there is no consistency of laws expecting drivers to slow for children in other situations. "If drivers don't have to slow outside schools where there is potential for a distracted child to run across the road, then why would they understand the significance of having to slow when children get on or off school buses?

"Unless we have consistency of slowing near children with the recommended maximum speed limit outside schools of 30km/h at peak times, where the probability of death after being struck by a car is 10% rather than 30% at 40km/h and no more than 60km/h at other times, the culture of drivers will not change."

To show her support for road safety week, Ms Rees will be joining school kids on Monday 4th May from 8.30am for a walk to Ashgrove School in Rangiora. The walk has been organised by the Road Safety Charity Brake who are calling for lower speeds near children. Brakes theme for road safety week is 'Look out for kids'.

"We need the Government to start 'looking out for kids' with laws that protect them", and Rees concludes: "If road work traffic can be slowed to 30km/h for full grown adults, then the least we can expect is the same if not slower for our vulnerable children who are easily distracted at the start and finish of school."


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