As children return from school holidays, RACV and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) are highlighting the need for Victorian motorists to be mindful of speed limits and driving conditions around schools.
According to data from the TAC, around 100 school aged children are injured each year during school zone times.
RACV Head of Policy James Williams said there were several reasons to show extra caution when driving around schools – none more important than the safety and wellbeing of children.
“It goes without saying that motorists need to be careful when driving and parking around schools,” said Mr Williams.
RACV supports 40km/h school speed zones, or traffic calming interventions such as zebra crossings where a 40km/h school speed zone is not feasible.
“Where there is a 40km/h school zone speed limit, please observe it – reducing your speed gives you more reaction time and reduces the severity of vehicle incidents.”
Mr Williams also said that driving behaviour around schools was the perfect opportunity to set a positive example for the next generation of drivers.
“When we obey speed limits, are patient and exercise caution, we are teaching children and our fellow motorists the importance of road safety,” Mr Williams said.
RACV has the following advice for parents and carers driving for their school pick-up and drop-offs:
- Stay alert and observe speed limits: Keep a keen eye out for change of speed limits to 40km/h and reduce your speed before entering school speed zones.
- Reduce distraction: Ensure that mobile devices and other distractions are out of reach or turned off while driving.
- Be mindful of school buses: Be mindful of buses – as well as children exiting and entering buses – and give way to a bus moving into the traffic.
- Consider parking further away: Park your car a few blocks away and walk to encourage a more active lifestyle, while helping to alleviate congestion.
- Consider turning your engine off: Don’t idle your engine as you wait. Studies from around the world suggest idling engines in traffic and around schools are detrimental to children’s health.
- Use zebra crossings: Encourage children to use zebra crossings and pedestrian traffic lights where available.
TAC Chief Executive Officer Tracey Slatter supports the RACV in calling for motorists to be extra vigilant when driving in school zones.
“With the return to school, we're urging Victorian motorists to drive at safe speeds around schools, be vigilant of pedestrians and adhere to the school zone speed limits – slowing down and taking care around our schools is critical for the safety of our youngest road users,” Ms Slatter said.
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