Brake, the road safety charity and Safekids Aotearoa have joined forces to produce a video calling for safe routes to school. The video features school students speaking up about what they need in order to get to and from school safely, and how adults can help (watch video).
The video is being released as part of UN Global Road Safety Week, which has the theme Save Lives #SpeakUp, focusing on leadership for road safety and encouraging everyone to speak up about the road safety issues that affect them.
Each week, on average, eight children under the age of ten are injured on NZ roads . Road Safety Week provides an opportunity to engage children, parents and the community in road safety messages. It reminds parents and drivers of their responsibility to help protect children when driving and as passengers in their vehicles.
Wednesday 8 May is also National Beep Beep! Day. More than 3,000 children around NZ will be calling on drivers to ensure they are protected by using child seats in vehicles and slowing down around schools, childcare centres and residential areas.
The project engages young children with key road safety messages such as using a child seat when in the car and holding hands when walking near roads.
Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director said: "All children have the right to live a safe and healthy life, but they need governments, parents, drivers and the wider community to help protect them. We know many parents choose to drive their children to school because they don't feel it is safe to walk and cycle. Safe routes for walking and cycling, and safe places to cross roads are essential to help children get to and from school safely, as well as providing health and environmental benefits. We encourage children and young people to #SpeakUp about these and other road safety issues in their local communities."
Melissa Wilson, Director of Safekids Aotearoa said: "Many pedestrian injuries occur at the times our children are travelling to and from school. Children aren't as good at assessing risk and speed as adults and their smaller bodies mean the consequences of being hit by a vehicle are often severe or fatal. It makes sense for everyone to slow down around schools and to provide routes that protect them from vehicles. Every child has the right to return home from their school day safe and well."
Anyone can take part in Road Safety Week - visit www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz. Anyone working with two to seven year-old children can hold a Beep Beep Day. The day involves running creative, educational activities using guidance and resources from Brake. The activities teach young children the road safety basics and encourage parents to consider the vital steps they need to take to keep their family safe. Find out more at www.brake.org.nz/beepbeepday.
 Road User Casualties (part 1), Annual Crash Statistics, Ministry of Transport, 2018