Whole com­mu­nity must help keep kids safe

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

While com­ing to terms with be­gin­ning or re­turn­ing to school Waikato Po­lice be­lieve stu­dents may have a lot on their minds, so they are ask­ing driv­ers and par­ents to be more aware this week and next.

District Road Polic­ing Man­ager In­spec­tor Leo Tooman said some chil­dren re­turned to school last week, a lot more were back this week and yet more would be re­turn­ing next week.

‘‘What this all means is not only an in­crease in pedes­trian and cy­cle traf­fic but also a rise in the num­bers of cars on the roads around schools as par­ents drop off and pick up their kids.

‘‘For many of the younger ones it’s hard enough com­ing to terms with home­work and the need to find their way in a new world so their sit­u­a­tional aware­ness out on the roads may not be the best.’’

Mr Tooman said while teach­ers and vol­un­teer stu­dents work­ing on road pa­trols did a won­der­ful job they could not be ev­ery­where ev­ery time so a whole of com­mu­nity ap­proach was needed to en­sure all our chil­dren ar­rived at school and re­turned home safely.

‘‘The 40kmh limited speed zones around schools play a cru­cial part in keep­ing our kids safe as does the 20kmh re­stric­tion for pass­ing a school bus drop­ping off or pick­ing up pas­sen­gers but we can’t rely on leg­is­la­tion alone.

‘‘ A par­tic­u­lar pres­sure point around schools that puts our kids at risk is mums and dads drop­ping pupils out­side the school gate. Of­ten these ar­eas are no stop­ping zones so as to keep a clear view around pedes­trian cross­ings, so par­ents dou­ble park­ing in these ar­eas puts a lot of peo­ple at risk.’’

Mr Tooman said there was very lit­tle risk of in­jury to a child who had to walk an ex­tra 50m to the school gate but there was a high risk of in­jury re­sult­ing from col­li­sions due to con­ges­tion out­side the en­trances to schools.

‘‘We’d like to en­cour­age par­ents to in­stil a sense of road safety in their kids. Teach them how to cross the street and the im­por­tance of us­ing pedes­trian cross­ings.

‘‘For those us­ing buses, re­mind them not to dart out from the back of the bus, to wait un­til it has pulled away and par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas con­sider meet­ing them at the bus drop-off point for the first week or so.’’

Mr Tooman said those agen­cies tasked with road safety were con­fi­dent that by tak­ing some ba­sic safety steps mo­torists could ex­pect an A+ in terms of road safety on their re­port card this term.

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