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Brakes on around schools

ROSE CAWLEY
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013
Paul Devane
Rose Cawley
SPEED KILLS: Sergeant Paul Devane says police will strictly enforce a 4kmh tolerance within school zones in a bid to keep children road safe as they head back to school.

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Slow down around schools.

Sergeant Paul Devane of Howick police station says the message couldn't be simpler.

Schools are starting back for the year and a nationwide police campaign is urging drivers to hit the brakes.

And consequences could be deadly for children if people don't take heed.

More than 1200 child pedestrians have been killed or injured on New Zealand roads during school terms in the past five years.

"Which even shocked me," Mr Devane says.

Police are launching the campaign Speed Kills Kids in a bid to see this statistic lowered.

"Basically from this Monday speeding tickets will be issued to anyone driving 4kmh over the speed limit in a school zone," Mr Devane says.

"Some schools around this area also have the temporary 40kmh school zones and the 4km tolerance will also apply there."

A school speed zone runs 250 metres on each side of the school boundaries. For those caught going no faster than 10kmh over the strictly enforced 4km tolerance a fine of $30 will be issued.

Mr Devane says at the high risk morning and afternoon drop-off periods children are at greater risk from speeding drivers.

Parents dropping off their children need to be watchful of other kids and especially of new entrants who might not have as much road safety experience, he says.

"Most of us have all been on holiday and the traffic situation has been a lot different, traffic in school terms is a lot heavier and busier.

"We've had a bit of a break and we have to get back in the mindset that kids will be back and speeds need to be lower."

Mr Devane says there are no excuses for speeding near schools and it is important for people to ensure the safety of pedestrians in their community.

"We do have problems around schools in this area. Parents drop their kids off and it becomes quite congested."

If people see someone speeding near a school they should contact police.

He says schools have travel plans which parents can utilise.

"There are alternatives such as the walking school buses which schools are quite actively promoting."

He says it is important road safety risks are reduced so children don't lose their lives doing something as ordinary as going to school.

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- Eastern Courier

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