Parents keep watch on pupils, traffic

ALANA DIXON
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2012

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An extra set of eyes will keep watch outside an Invercargill school, on a road long causing concern.

Parents at Sacred Heart School, in North Rd, have set up a roster system to keep an eye on children and motorists outside the school.

Sacred Heart School principal Peter Forde said yesterday the aim of having parent volunteers outside the school at peak times - before school in the morning, and when it finished in the afternoon - was to add another layer to making North Rd safe for pupils.

About 10 parents had agreed to a roster system, which began earlier this month, meaning one of them would be there to keep an eye on children and motorists during peak times, he said.

"Parents being out there as well just gives us that extra sort of safety blanket," he said.

A police blitz last October caught 142 people speeding outside the school within an hour, while the previous month, 146 people were netted speeding outside the school.

That prompted a warning from Constable Paul Frith, of Invercargill, who said it was a matter of when, not if, somebody was killed.

Yesterday Mr Forde said while speed was the main cause for concern, there were also other factors that meant North Rd was potentially dangerous, including the road not having turning bays, motorists failing to stop at red lights, children crossing when there was a green signal without looking carefully for approaching traffic, and the sheer volume of vehicles travelling in the area.

"Please slow down, and be aware of children. That's really it - it's just [to] be aware of children. They are unpredictable," he said.

Area tactical manager Invercargill Inspector Olaf Jensen said while it was positive that parents were taking an active role in road safety, there should not be a need for them to do so.

"It's a very good initiative that the parents assisting around the road safety issue have come up with, but there's a set of controlled lights there and we really should not need to be doing this. It's driver behaviour putting children at risk."

As well as the set of lights, there were prominent speed limit and warning signs in place, yet the area remained a cause for concern, he said.

Police would continue to work with the school to ensure pupil safety but they could not be there all the time. Parents would report incidents to police if required, he said.

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