Police targeting safety in school traffic areas

A school road safety campaign starts this week. Photo from ODT files.
A school road safety campaign starts this week. Photo from ODT files.
Southern police are warning motorists to be careful around schools and will target speeding vehicles during a back-to-school campaign starting this week.

District highway patrol Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said officers would patrol school bus routes and roads around schools as children returned to school.

''Our aim is to prevent fatal and injury crashes involving children around schools. It's a new term and a new start for some students so we need to be extra careful with our driving habits around schools,'' he said.

Parents should not double park or park on yellow lines when dropping children off, and should give themselves plenty of time to get children to school safely, Snr Sgt Larking said.

It was particularly important to be aware of young children, as they had difficulty judging the speed of moving vehicles and tended to be less aware of what was happening around them, he said.

''Many will also be learning to deal with a new and unfamiliar environment if they are starting at a new school.''

He also warned motorists to watch for children on bicycles.

Police would use speed cameras and lasers, and strictly enforce speed limits within 250m of school boundaries, as well as monitoring school bus routes. Drivers travelling at 5kmh over the limit would be fined.

Those passing stationary school buses would be fined if travelling at more than 20kmh.

Snr Sgt Larking said the campaign would finish in the middle of February.

A child struck by a vehicle travelling at 60kmh had only a 15% chance of survival, but when the impact speed was reduced to 50kmh a child's chance of survival increased to 55%, he said.

Since 2008, in the Southern police district, 15 people were seriously injured and 90 received minor injures in crashes involving children aged between 4 and 18 years within 250m of school zones during the months of February to December.

Drivers aged between 15 and 19 years were at fault in 40% of those crashes, while 24% were caused by drivers on restricted licences and 13% were the fault of drivers on learner licences.

Key risk times were between 7.30am and 9am, and 2.30pm and 4pm.


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