Using common sense near schools
With Monday, January 30, the start of going back to school for most children, the Motor Trade Association is urging Matamata motorists to be extra vigilant around schools and childcare facilities, particularly around peak school pick up and drop off times.
MTA spokeswoman, Ana Zandi said this was the start of a busy time for many parents.
‘‘ As well as the normal worries of dropping off and picking up children, there is, for many, the additional concern of things like stationery lists, new uniforms and out-ofschool activities to consider. It’s easy to be distracted just by the sheer volume of things to be thinking about, hence people need to remind themselves that they are back into their routine,’’ Ms Zandi said.
Statistics show that the peak times for accidents involving pedestrians coincides with school drop-off and pick-up times – 8am to 9am and 3pm to 4pm.
‘‘ All drivers, not just parents, need to be totally aware of what’s happening around school zones, school buses and daycare centres.’’ She said safety had to be the first priority despite people typically having a lot on their mind.
‘‘The rush to beat traffic and make appointments or start times can lead to drivers concentrating on their own needs at the expense of children, students or other road users,’’ Ms Zandi said.
New Zealand, like many developed countries, has seen a shift in transport patterns around schools, especially in recent years. Many more parents drive their children to and from school, and there is a growing tendency for older secondary students to have a car at school.
Both mean there is a lot more activity and congestion around what are often relatively limited pick- up and drop-off points around schools.
Instances of double parking, passengers getting into and out of vehicles on the ‘‘wrong’’ side and excessive speeds are commonplace outside many schools.
‘‘ We urge those dropping children off at school or daycare centres to be especially careful as they start the year,’’ Ms Zandi said. Being safe around such places should be a priority all year round, she said.
Observe the posted speed limits outside schools and daycare centres, typically 30kmh.
Ensure that whoever is driving is appropriately licensed to carry passengers.
Be familiar with school or daycare pick-up and drop-off points and procedures.
Don’t double park. It is a hazard at the best of times, and is especially dangerous where children can be darting from between parked vehicles.
Agree on safe procedures for children being picked up – where to stand, when to cross, which door to use.
Be especially aware if you need to back your vehicle – children are hard to spot from inside many vehicles.
Ensure children are properly secured in appropriate child safety seats. If you are unsure whether the seats have been correctly installed, see your nearest MTA member.
SCHOOL SAFETY: With school starting soon, the Motor Trade Association is asking motorists to take care while driving near schools.