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Unsafe Drivers to Face Stricter Penalties when School Returns

School returns on Tuesday 30 January for the Eastern Division and Tuesday 6 February for the Western Division, which will see 40 km/h school zones back in place as well as an increased number of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles near or on our roads during peak hour times.

Road crashes account for 58% of all accidental deaths among children aged 5-14 years of age and therefore road users need to pay extra attention on the road when school returns.

The Acting General Manager for Warrumbungle Shire Council, Leeanne Ryan, explained that children are more susceptible to road crashes due to their size, inability to judge speed and distance as well as their unpredictable actions.

School zones have a speed limit of 40 km/h between the hours of 8am-9:30am as well as 2:30pm-4pm on weekdays.

According to the Centre for Road Safety when hit at 40 km/h 75% of pedestrians will survive, but at 50 km/h only 45% of pedestrians will survive.

“The 40 km/h school zone is in place to increase the chance of survival where the risk of pedestrians being hit is higher."

“Stricter penalties are also in place for drivers not obeying road rules to further discourage unsafe driving behaviour in areas where drivers are more exposed to students,” said Mrs Ryan.

School zones aren’t the only place where drivers need to pay extra attention as students also gather at bus stops on the side of roads.

Drivers are also required to slow down to 40 km per hour around buses that are stopped and have flashing wig-wag lights on. The flashing lights are used to indicate to drivers that there are students about and that they need to slow down and pay extra attention when passing by.

“It is the whole community’s responsibility to ensure that students travel safely to and from school each day.

“Parents and Carers need to regularly reinforce road safety rules to children, and drivers need to slow down and pay extra attention near bus stops and school zones.” Mrs Ryan said.

Additional ways road users and parents/carers can improve the safety of students travelling to and from school include:

  • Be aware of the possibility of a child running out onto the road in school zones.
  • Try to park on the school side of the road and when in a parallel park make sure that children enter and exit from the door that is facing away from the road.
  • Hold the hands of children under the age of 8 near or on roads and always try to use a pedestrian crossing. This will help children learn to cross roads safely, improve a drivers ability to see that someone is crossing the road and minimise unpredictable behaviour.
  • Make sure that children are in an appropriate child car seat when travelling in a vehicle.
  • Never call out to your children from the other side of the road, to avoid your child running out in front of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Children who cycle to school must wear a helmet. More than 30% of cyclist casualties are aged between 5-9 years.

For more information on road safety around schools, please contact Road Safety Officer, Ms Cheyenne O’Brien, on (02) 6849 2000 or email info@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au.

Unsafe Driver Penalties Schools Photo

Last Updated: 01 Feb 2018

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