Us­ing safer lim­its out­side schools

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency will be­gin a trial of vari­able speed lim­its out­side ru­ral schools next month as part of the agency’s on-go­ing ef­fort to re­duce se­ri­ous crashes and im­prove safety on ru­ral New Zealand roads.

Agency chief ad­viser, Safety Di­rec­tions Lisa Ros­siter said the speed of traf­fic around schools is a con­cern to par­ents, teach­ers and oth­ers in many ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, as school drop-offs and pick­ups of­ten took place in high-speed traf­fic en­vi­ron­ments.

‘‘Our aim is to cre­ate a road sys­tem in which crashes are sur­viv­able. To do that we re­ally need to re­duce speeds around our vul­ner­a­ble young­sters and we also need to ac­cept that peo­ple, in­clud­ing chil­dren, will make mis­takes on the road,’’ Ms Ros­siter said. ‘‘It’s up to all of us to share re­spon­si­bil­ity for mak­ing the sys­tem as safe as we can. Driv­ing at lower speeds around schools when kids are com­ing and go­ing is part of that.’’

Ms Ros­siter said agency in­ves­ti­ga­tions have shown that for many ru­ral New Zealand schools the main traf­fic safety is­sue is the risk of crashes with ve­hi­cles turn­ing into or out of the school grounds to drop-off or pick-up chil­dren.

She said the trial is a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of the ‘‘slow down round schools’’ pro­gramme in­tro­duced by po­lice sev­eral years ago and will ex­am­ine whether safer speeds can be achieved and a safer en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated dur­ing these times us­ing a range of per­ma­nent and vari­able school speed lim­its.

‘‘By re­duc­ing speed lim­its at spec­i­fied times be­fore and af­ter school, we’re aim­ing to re­duce the risk of se­ri­ous crashes in­volv­ing turn­ing traf­fic,’’ said Ms Ros­siter.

‘‘It should also pro­vide a safer road en­vi­ron­ment for pedes­tri­ans or cy­clists us­ing the road out­side the schools.’’

Ms Ros­siter said a sim­i­lar ap­proach had been em­ployed suc­cess­fully around many ur­ban schools in New Zealand and the use of vari­able speed lim­its was in­creas­ingly com­mon over­seas.

The agency’s ef­forts to man­age speeds out­side schools are part of the agency’s com­mit­ment to the Gov­ern­ment’s road safety strat­egy, Safer Jour­neys.

Safer Jour­neys adopts the world-lead­ing ‘‘safe sys­tem’’ ap­proach to re­duc­ing un­nec­es­sary deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries from road crashes.

The safe sys­tem ap­proach aims to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is for­giv­ing of hu­man er­ror so that peo­ple do not need­lessly die or get se­ri­ously in­jured as the re­sult of a sim­ple mis­take, such as mis­judg­ing the speed of an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle. It fo­cuses on safer speeds, safer roads and road­sides, safer road use and safer ve­hi­cles.

Ms Ros­siter said five schools would ini­tially take part in the trial with the first step be­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a per­ma­nent 80kph speed limit at four of the trial schools.

This will be fol­lowed up with the in­stal­la­tion of ‘‘vari­able mes­sage’’ elec­tronic signs at each of the five schools (sim­i­lar to those be­ing used out­side schools in ur­ban ar­eas).

The signs, funded for the trial by the Road Safety Trust, will dis­play the vari­able speed limit for each school dur­ing their key pick up and drop off times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.