Local primary schools often struggle with road safety issues. I’ve talked to a lot of parents, and they’ve all said that road safety around schools, and drop off zones in particular, is a nightmare. Mix in a lot of cars in a confined space and young children (who sometimes can be unpredictable), add in a dash of rain and a sprinkle of driver frustration and voila – you’ve literally got an accident waiting to happen. That’s why I’m calling for a stronger partnership between local schools and Georges River Council.
To start off with, I’m calling for a Council-wide School Road Safety Program, including the introduction of a Road Safety Officer. Council Officers need to meet principals and parent representatives onsite in the busy school drop off and pick up times to understand firsthand what the problems are and offer advice on how schools and Council can work together to solve them. Sometimes that may involve thinking creatively to find a solution, and not just rejecting an idea because it doesn’t fall strictly within the RMS guidelines.
Secondly, once the problems are identified, I’m calling for an annual funding program to help schools run education programs to change driver behaviour around schools. Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding parents where they can and cannot stop/park, or how long they can remain in a No Parking zone. But other times, there are more localised problems that may require a targeted response. Local schools and P&Cs can’t do this important work in isolation. They need the expertise and resources from Council to help manage ongoing issues.
Thirdly, I’m calling for school zones to be more regularly patrolled by both Council Rangers and the NSW Police to enforce existing road rules. Nothing changes driver behaviour quicker than a fine!
If elected, I will work to introduce all three of these important road safety initiatives to local schools. Because ultimately, we need to do more to keep students safe around schools.