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Safe school Travel

The new school year is set to resume for thousands of local students this week and Moree Plains Shire Council is reminding local drivers and parents about children's safety around schools.

The Councils' Road Safety Officer, Renee McMillan, said that road crashes account for approximately 58% of all accidental deaths among children aged 5 - 14 years old.

Children are vulnerable road users. They are at risk in the traffic environment because of their size, their difficulty in judging speed and distance, as well as the fact that they may behave unpredictably.

Motorists will need to pay extra attention with schools reopening as there are more buses and cyclists on the roads and young pedestrians crossing the streets. Over the long summer break it is easy to forget just how busy the areas around schools can get.

“I urge all motorists throughout the Moree Plains Shire to pay extra attention over the next few weeks to make the roads safer for local children as the new school year commences," Mrs McMillan said.

More than one million children in NSW travel to and from school each day by car, bike, bus or as pedestrians and each form of transport poses potential hazards.

There are 40km/h school speed zones in existence around all schools in Moree Plains. School zones at Moree East Public now start at 7:30am and finish at 9:30am, and recommence at 1:00pm through til 3:30pm, on gazetted school days. Other schools in Moree will continue to have standard school zone operating times of 8:00am to 9:30am and 2:30pm to 4:00pm.

Police will be targeting school zones to ensure traffic obeys the 40km/h speed limit when school returns.

It is important that drivers slowdown in school zones so they are in a better position to react to the unpredictable behaviour of school children as well as the busy traffic environment, but the 40km/h school zone speed limit alone is not enough to keep children safe.

“Parents and carers can help students remain safe by following some simple safety steps and by regularly reinforcing important road safety behaviours with their children," Mrs McMillan said.

Parents and carers should;

  • Always make sure your children wear a seatbelt or use a child restraint when travelling in a car - around 50% of child road casualties are passengers. Child restraint laws state that children up to seven years of age must be restrained in an approved child restraint. The laws also state that in cars with more than two rows of seats, children aged between four and seven years can only travel in the front seat if the back seat is full of younger passengers.
  • Never call your children across the road to you.
  • Always drop-off and pick-up your children on the school side of the road or walk them across the road.
  • Make sure children use the footpath-side door when getting in and out of a car (this is called the 'safety door').
  • Use a pedestrian crossing where possible - around 20% of child road casualties are pedestrians.
  • Children aged up to 10 years old should always be supervised when near traffic.
  • Children aged up to 8 years old should always hold an adult's hand when crossing the road or walking near traffic.
  • Make sure your children always wear a helmet when riding a bike - more than 30% of cyclist casualties aged 5 - 9 years old are not wearing helmets.
  • If your children catch a bus to school always walk with them to the bus stop.

"Road safety around schools is everybody's responsibility - students, teachers, parents, carers and motorists. We all have a part to play," Mrs McMillan said.