Lead by example is the message police want parents and caregivers to listen to as thousands of children return to school this week.
Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion says children can be unpredictable when it comes to school traffic.
Ian Campion warns police will be cracking down on speeds around schools for the next couple of weeks.
“Some of them are excited about seeing their friends after such a long holiday,” he says, “and others can be nervous about starting school for the first time.
“They can get confused and be unpredictable.
“It’s important to take extreme care around schools.”
Ian says parents and caregivers need to set an example.
“Parents dropping off children can often compound traffic around schools by driving too quickly or parking illegally,” adds Ian.
“Kids today are our future drivers and often mimic the driving they have seen from their parents and caregivers. They quite often mirror the behaviour of those around them.”
Ian says children are vulnerable around schools and will be for the next couple of weeks until they settle into a proper routine.
“Police will be focusing on speed around schools and we ask people to keep their speeds down,” he says.
The speed limits around most schools during peak times is 40km/h, though this differs for rural schools.
An electronic sign will show the proper speed for the proper time.
“Speed cameras and other detection equipment will be used as we conduct our campaign,” says Ian.
Tauranga Police will be focusing on speed and other traffic offences around schools as they embark on their ‘Back to School’ campaign from now until February 5.
Tips for motorists include slowing down in and near school zones or residential areas and to look for clues such as crossing guards, bicycles and playgrounds which indicate children could be in the area.
Parents are advised to involve children in selecting the safest route to school/home and trying a practice walk with children along the route so they become familiar with it.