Over the coming days and weeks across the Manawatu region, children are returning to school after a long break. In many cases some are starting school for the first time.
While the usual road safety risks for this time of year remain, obviously the return of students to school increases the risk posed to all road users – in particular the children.
To help raise awareness of the return back to school in Palmerston North and across the wider Manawatu, Police and key road safety partners will have a presence near many of the local schools over the next two weeks.
Palmerston North Police will be supported by staff from the Police District Headquarters and staff from ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) and Horizons Regional Council (Road Safety Co-ordinator) to have staff outside schools at key times – when children are arriving and leaving.
“Motorists need to take extra care around schools at the key times. With some children attending school for the first time, they may be unaware of how to use crossing safely or getting to and from school. At the end of the school day they may be excited to see mum or dad and what to show them what they have achieved during the day, and rush to see them without thinking about the consequences,” says Inspector Mark Harrison.
“The crossings and roads around our schools have been without children for many weeks now, so as parents and caregivers develop their routines, other road users will need to adapt their driving to allow for the increased concentration of young people on or around the roads before and after school.”
Parents are also reminded to make sure they allow plenty of time to drop children off at school and to avoid double parking, parking near crossings or in no parking areas. Police will be actively enforcing any breaches of this.
In rural areas, think about which side of the road children are being picked up and dropped off on, think about the visibility of those children waiting on the roadside and as they cross – particularly on school bus routes.
“It may be an idea for those parents of younger children who are attending school for the first time, to actually take them into the school in the morning and also wait for them at the school gate at the end of the day rather than wait in the car. They will be excited to see you and may rush across a road to show you what they have been doing during the day,” says Inspector Harrison.
Police will be enforcing a 4 km/h threshold near schools during the peak times. We are all aware that child pedestrians and cyclists are very vulnerable and even a few kilometres per hour can be the difference between a crash being totally avoided and an event with tragic consequences.
Issued by Police Media Centre