20 May 2012

NZTA to trial lower speed limits outside rural schools

4:11 pm on 20 May 2012

The Transport Agency will trial variable speed limits outside rural schools in an effort to reduce serious crashes and improve safety.

Five schools are part of the trial starting next month.

One of the schools, Whenuakite near Whitianga, will have a new permanent speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour and a lower limit of 40 just before and after the school day.

The agency's safety directions chief advisor Lisa Rossiter says their aim is to create a road system in which crashes are survivable.

She says to do that they need to reduce speeds around vulnerable youngsters, accepting that people, including children, make mistakes on the road.

The trial will go for at least two years and eventually other schools will be part of it.

The anti-speed campaigner Lucinda Rees says the trial is a small step in the right direction.

Transport Ministry figures show 1100 children aged 5 to 17 were injured within 250 metres of a school between 2005 and 2009.

There were five fatalities.