Check your speed around schools, urges charity

Brake, the road safety charity is reminding drivers to slow down and look out for kids as schools and kindergartens return from the summer break. As the new term starts, roads around schools and childcare centres will be busy with parents and children.

Brake is calling on drivers to slow down to 30km/h outside schools to help protect young lives. At speeds of under 30km/h drivers have a much better chance of being able to stop in time if a child runs out than at higher speeds.

Brake's NZ director Caroline Perry says: "The death of a child on the road is devastating, so we're reminding drivers to do what they can to protect children and young people around schools and in communities. Children can be unpredictable so drivers need to give the road their full attention and look out for kids. Many schools have lower speed limits around them but we urge drivers to commit to slowing down even further, to 30km/h, so they are much more likely to stop in time if a child runs out, and if they do hit, the child is far more likely to survive."

The charity is also reminding drivers that the speed limit when passing a stopped school bus in either direction is 20km/h.

"The speed limit around school buses is there to protect children. They sometimes make mistakes, but don't deserve to pay for it with their life. We're reminding all drivers of the importance of the school bus rule and calling on them to commit to following it."

Parents can also help protect their children by teaching key road safety messages such as: holding hands with young children; safety when crossing the road and using stop, look and listen; crossing only at designated crossing points, or if there aren't any, crossing at safe places, not on bends or between parked cars; taking headphones off and not using a phone when crossing.

This year's Road Safety Week, which takes place 8-14 May, will have the theme speed. The Week, which is sponsored by QBE Insurance, will coincide with the fourth UN Global Road Safety Week and will focus on why speed is such an important road safety issue and what we can do to address it. To find out more and register for a free e-action pack with resources and activity ideas, visit www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz.

Facts

  • Your stopping distance increases disproportionately to your speed. Slower speeds around schools and school buses mean you have a much better chance of stopping in time if a child runs out.
    • At 20km/h your stopping distance is 8 metres
    • At 30km/h your stopping distance is 12 metres
    • At 40km/h your stopping distance is 18 metres
    • At 50km/h your stopping distance is 25 metres
  • If a child is hit by a car travelling 30km/h, their chance of survival is 90%. Hit at 50km/h it's just 20%. [1]
  • The speed limit is 20km/h when passing a stopped school bus, whichever direction you're travelling in.
  • A 5% reduction in average speed on roads can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal crashes. [2]

[1] Speed management: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners, World Health Organisation, 2008
[2] World Health Organisation

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