INDEPENDENT NEWS

Dangerous Slowing Down Near Schools Needs Ministerial Action

Published: Mon 23 May 2016 12:57 PM
Media Release 23rd May 2016
Dangerous Slowing Down Near Schools Needs Ministerial Action
Last week was Road Safety Week and pressure groups and the police were asking drivers to slow down near schools. Lucinda Rees from the lobby group NZ School Speeds says these good intentions could prove dangerous with speed limits outside schools ranging from 40km/h to 100km/h and some drivers being unaware of these recommendations.
"The World Health Organisation recommends a maximum speed limit of 30km/h outside schools when children are coming and going. The Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency acknowledge this, but that is all..."
Furthermore Ms Rees claims that "with our varied school speed limits posted - some up to 100km/h - and some slowing to the recommended speed limit, could pose severe danger to both drivers and vulnerable road users alike.
"Unless there are consistent speed limits of 30km/h maximum outside schools at peak times and no more than 60km/h at other times of the day, this danger will continue. School zones are currently lawless zones."
30km/h at peak times will bring speed limits in line with existing rules and ultimately make them safer especially for children: drivers need to slow to 20km/h when passing a school bus dropping off children. Road workers have 30km/h speed limits, even when they are not working nearby. "Drivers will learn what speed they should slow to near children, who can behave unpredictably", says Rees who would like to see consistent speed limits introduced outside all schools and for more than just Road Safety Week.
Political pressure is building, with the Green Party and NZ First endorsing 30km/h outside schools and other parties reviewing their policies.
Rees concludes: "Consistently slowing speeds outside schools is common sense. Most would expect that the Government did their best to look after our children on the road, but sadly this is not the case. The Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges and his Associate Craig Foss continue to ignore the safety of our most vulnerable road users. Perhaps the responsible thing would be for the Ministers to resign and let someone who has the safety of vulnerable road users in mind, get the job done."
ENDS

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