Today marks the beginning of Road Safety Week and schools around New Zealand are getting involved. Several projects are heading online this year to keep kids safe near roads.
The awareness week is a part of the UN’s Global Road Safety week which aims to save people's lives, especially near schools. Children have less experience near roads and are less likely to be able to effectively judge vehicle speed.
According to the most recent Ministry of Transport report (2015), speeding was a contributing factor in 32% of road deaths. With 101 speed-related fatalities that year, and over half of them children and young people, these campaigns could not come at a better time.
To mark the week, a social media campaign, championed by Brake, Safekids Aotearoa and many other organisations, is calling on people to pledge to #SlowDown. This call goes out to drivers on roads everywhere to curb their speed, but for those near schools to be particularly mindful.
Schools around New Zealand are creating banners and walking through their communities, reminding people to #SlowDown, as well as going online to raise awareness.
NZ Transport director of safety Harry Wilson says the online campaign is to get the message out about how dangerous it is to speed.
“Everyone makes mistakes when driving, but a simple mistake doesn’t need to result in loss of life or limb. The faster you drive, the more likely you are to crash, and speed affects the outcome of every crash. Road Safety Week is a timely reminder for all of us to slow down and keep safe on the roads.”
Anyone can get involved by using the hashtag and contributing their message to the collective voice raising awareness online.
Dr. Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) has teamed up with Meadowbank School as well as Brake and Safekids Aotearoa to create a new Youtube video explaining the science behind speeding.
The video looks at reaction times, stopping distances and the very nature of speed.
NZ School Speeds are calling on schools to get students to create online content that explains what road safety means to them.
Students can post audio, videos, pictures or even just words to their Facebook page.
NZ School Speeds want the speed around schools to meet the WHO maximum speed of 30km/h. Spokesperson Lucinda Rees says it’s an opportunity to put student safety first.
“Road safety of school children is currently not being given high enough priority. By listening to their ideas and experiences I hope their voice will be heard and their needs will be more visible.”
Schools have an opportunity to get on board and really share the message of safety around our students.
Get involved in any of these campaigns, and share the challenge to your students. Get them to create their own messages and share them online.
Together we can make a difference.