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Drivers Slowing Down Outside Schools For Road Safety

It is Road Safety Week and the advocate group NZ School Speeds, with the help of year 7/8 students from rural Swannanoa Primary School in North Canterbury, have been checking what speeds vehicles are travelling outside the school. The legal speed limit is 100km/h, but there is hope that recent publicity about school speeds due to be lowered, is encouraging drivers to choose a safer speed.

The Minister of Transport, Michael Wood has recommended in a proposed rule change that the lower speed limits be in place by a very distant 2029, but Ms Rees from NZ School Speeds asks for this to be in place by the first term of 2022. Following the afternoon of checking speed limits with the children there is hope that drivers agree. When the children heard that the speed limits were unlikely to be in place until 2029, they all looked shocked. They want a safe speed limit in place now, not when they are grown up.

The proposed rule change is to lower speed limits consistently on roads outside schools to a maximum of 30 km/h and sometimes 40km/h for urban schools and 60 km/h for rural schools. Ms Rees suggests: “While lowering the speed limit in rural schools to 60km/h is a good start, speed limits need to be slowed to consistent 30km/h when children are coming and going for all children to be safe. For this United Nations Road Safety Week they are suggesting that speed limits should be no more than 30km/h where people and vehicles meet, with ‘Streets for Life’. What better place to start this than outside a school and change the culture of how people drive?

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“To measure the speeds being driven we downloaded an app called Speed Clock, which according to the internet has relatively accurate measurements. The following is a snapshot of some of the speeds recorded. The children are setting up a graph with all the readings taken.” Says Ms Rees.

“Drivers seem to be signalling that they want to slow down, but until there are consistent speed limits in place, school zones will remain dangerous for children who walk and bike, due to the difference in speeds travelled ‘legally’ by individual drivers. The MInistry of Transport now acknowledges that there is a problem and to leave things as they are until 2029 is just plain irresponsible.”

For Road Safety Week Ms Rees urges the public to support the children and their need for safer road by submitting on the proposed rule change or email their thoughts to by 25th June 2021

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