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Ministry of Transport Contemplating Child Road Safety

Ministry of Transport Contemplating Child Road Safety

Watch out for the imminent announcement by the Ministry of Transport about laws that make roads safer children. "Its UN Global Road Safety Week and this years theme is 'Look out for kids' - a perfect opportunity for Minsters Bridges and Foss to make their mark by announcing a law change around school zones", says Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the group that lobbies for consistent lower speeds outside schools.

UN Global Road Safety Week started with a brief statement from Associate Minister of Transport, Craig Foss reminding New Zealanders to look out for kids http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/road-safety-week-focus-kids#. There has to be more to come with some proactive involvement and accountability, with a life changing announcement for concerned families.

"There was no mention in the statement of the confusing speed limit inconsistencies that are endangering school children on the road, with the 20km/h school bus speed limits versus speed limits of up to 100km/h outside some rural schools," says Rees. "This is so confusing that few drivers abide by the 20km/h school bus speed limit, endangering children getting on and off the school bus, let alone those rural children who walk or cycle to school in these treacherous conditions.

"Nor was there mention of the fact that in roadworks throughout the country, drivers are expected to slow to 30km/h for grown adults, a luxury not afforded New Zealand's distracted school children with the lowest speed limit in urban school zones 40km/h. 30km/h is the maximum recommended speed limit outside schools at peak times. The difference of 10km/h is colossal if a car or truck is heading for these vulnerable road users who are known to behave unpredictably."

All this week road safety charities including Brake NZ and Safe Kids Aotearoa have been alerting New Zealanders of the vulnerability of children on our roads. Meanwhile the Ministry of Transport are keeping a low profile. No doubt considering laws that will actually remove these inconsistencies and becoming accountable for child road safety, with the announcement due before this global road safety week ends on 10th May.

"If you have a hotline to the Ministry of Transport ask them what role they have in mind for sorting out these dangerous inconsistencies. The role they play at the moment is nonexistent, but if they start to consider our most vulnerable road users and make history by being the first in the ministry to acknowledge these dangers, they will change the culture of New Zealand drivers - something they have to consider if our road toll is to improve."


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