Whole community must help keep kids safe
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.