Pyes Pa School and Pahoia School have joined the NZ Transport Agency’s rural schools road safety programme which identifies high risk rural schools on state highways.
A series of initiatives are being implemented to improve the safety outside schools, particularly focusing on the risks of high-speed traffic.
One of the initiatives in the programme is conducting a trial with variable speed signs to slow traffic down during the busiest times in the school day. During the pick up and drop off times the speed outside Pyes Pa School, located on State Highway 36, will be reduced from 80 km/h to 40 km/h. At Pahoia School, on State Highway 2 north of Tauranga, the speed limit will be reduced from 100 km/h to 70 km/h.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Acting Highways Manager Mark Haseley says, the aim of the trial is to reduce the risk of serious crashes involving vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists happening around our rural schools.
Mr Haseley says the Transport Agency understands that the speed of traffic past rural schools is a concern to schools, parents and local communities. The Transport Agency has made a commitment to reducing serious injury and deaths on our roads and as part of that they are carrying out the rural schools road safety programme.
He says initial evaluations from some of the first trial schools around the country show that the variable speed limits have been effective in reducing vehicle speeds and improving driver behaviour around rural schools.
Pyes Pa School Principal, Michelle Thurlow, is delighted that the Transport Agency will be erecting the speed signs outside the school."The community is very pleased that the consultation and discussion that has taken place over the past year has resulted in this positive and proactive outcome. The safety of our students and their families are paramount and we are grateful to the Transport Agency for partnering with us to achieve this."
Mr Haseley says "Road crashes have a huge effect on lives and livelihoods. People and whole communities pay the price for road crashes, either in serious injuries or loss of life. The Transport Agency will continue to work towards safer roads and roadsides and encourage safer vehicles, safer speeds, and safer driving across New Zealand as part of its Safer Journeys strategy."
The variable speed signs will be operational by the end of October and Police will be monitoring compliance of speed through the areas. The duration of the trial is expected to be up to two years, with the plan to expand the number of trial sites to 23 rural schools nationwide by the end of 2013. The Transport Agency will undertake regular monitoring to measure the success of the trials.