RAA is calling for caution on South Australia’s roads as thousands of students return to face-to-face classes this week.
The call comes as data reveals 258 pedestrians and 251 cyclists under the age of 18 were involved in road crashes between 2016 and 2020 – with 37 per cent of these between the hours of 8 to 9am and 3 to 4pm.
While drivers may have become accustomed to reduced traffic levels over the holiday period with many workers working from home under State Government advice, RAA is asking motorists to prepare for busier roads in the coming days.
RAA Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said it was important for drivers to be vigilant, especially around schools as children return to class.
“We’d expect the roads to start to return to usual traffic conditions, so it’s a good idea to allow yourself a few extra minutes to reach your destination, particularly if you’re doing a school drop-off as well,” Mr Mountain said.
“Remember that school zones require drivers to reduce their speed to 25km/hr whenever children are present, even outside of normal drop-off and pick-up times.”
He also reminded parents to be mindful of their driving in busy areas around schools.
“If parents are dropping their children off or picking them up by car during peak periods, they should keep in mind usual parking restrictions so they don’t block driveways or park too close to intersections.
“School crossings will also be back in operation from 31 January which means drivers will need to slow down to 25 km/hr if flashing lights or orange flags are displayed.
“Road users should always be alert and prepared to stop to allow children to cross the road safely.”
Mr Mountain said that transporting children safely in vehicles was also an often-overlooked part of the school drop-off process for parents. According to recent data from RAA’s Child Safety Centre, almost 90% of child restraints are either not fitted or used correctly.
RAA is now calling on the State Government, ahead of the State Election in March, to reform child restraint legislation to improve protection for children.
“It’s crucially important for motorists to ensure they not only provide children with a restraint that’s suitable based on their size and age, but one that’s fitted and adjusted correctly as well,” he said.
“A child who is restrained properly will be in a much safer position in the car, and much less likely to be injured in the event of a crash.”