Greater emphasis will be placed on road safety around schools under a new strategy adopted by the State Government.
Transport Minister Pam Beggs today said the Government had decided to endorse in full the recommendations of a task force on road safety at schools.
The key parts of the strategy are:
· road safety to be given more emphasis in the planning process for new schools and redevelopment of existing schools;
· local government to be encouraged to introduce measures aimed at reducing traffic speed along school frontages;
· Main Roads to investigate the feasibility of speed restrictions along school frontages at certain times;
· more publicity being given to the ways of establishing volunteer guarded crossings for school children: the provision of paid guards also should be independent of the Police Department's other staffing levels;
· further investigation into using flashing amber lights on approaches to guarded crossings on multi-lane roads;
· transferring responsibility for policy issues to a school crossing and road safety committee.
· expanding the membership of the committee to include representatives from local government and the Western Australian Council of State School Organisations.
The task force was chaired by Balcatta MLA Nick Catania and included members from Main Roads, Police, Department of Planning and Urban Development, Ministry of Education, WA Municipal Association, WA Council of State School Organisations and the Transport Minister's office.
Mrs Beggs said the task force reviewed current practices and procedures and received almost 150 submissions from schools and interest groups throughout the State.
The task force also look at a study into how children themselves understood and reacted to road safety.
The group found research into physical and psychological aspects of children in traffic was reasonably well documented and was an important element in preparing its recommendations.
"The Government's decision to adopt the recommendations means school crossings and road safety will have a higher profile in the overall school planning process," Mrs Beggs said.
"Government agencies will work more closely together and safety measures will be incorporated into school plans before they are approved.
"It also means local government will play a more active role in road safety near schools through traffic management measures and in providing facilities such as pick-up and set-down areas in co-operation with the Ministry of Education."
Mrs Beggs said the expanded School Crossing and Road Safety Committee would take over from an advisory group that had been set up in 1980.