Vienna, 04. March 2015
The accident statistics are alarming: every year, around 3,000 children are involved in accidents on Austria's roads, 500 of them on their way to school. On the one hand, this is down to the fact that many drivers are travelling faster than permitted and continue to ignore speed limits and, on the other hand, too much is often expected from children in terms of their experience and behaviour in road traffic. "Children are not little adults. They are not able to correctly asses speed and distances, they are easily distracted and their field of vision is significantly limited. The way they see, hear, think, feel and move is different to adults and they often feel unsafe when they are out in public spaces on their own," explains Dr. Othmar Thann, Director of the KFV (Austrian Road Safety Board). "As the weakest road users, they therefore require our protection."
In order to make the journey to school safe for our children, the KFV has developed a comprehensive safety concept and initiated the new project "30 km/h speed limit near schools". Because simple construction and design elements near schools can help to alert drivers to children's travel routes, thus encouraging a slower and more considerate way of driving at sensitive sections of the road. In addition to the extensive 30 km/h speed limit zones near schools, the KFV also recommends zigzag-line road markings on the side of the road, encouraging drivers to drive more slowly and attentively. Furthermore, especially when it is dark, sufficient lighting on pedestrian crossings is very important, as pedestrians should be clearly visible even before stepping onto the crossing. "Over the next days, primary schools and communities across Austria will be invited by the KFV to join this road safety campaign," says Thann.
Pupils paint action signs
For the pupils of the participating schools, the KFV has come up with a very special activity: they can create their own action signs, which will then be placed at the side of the road in front of their school building. Each action sign will display alternating, weather-proofed images so that the images can regularly be switched. All images will be created by pupils from the participating schools. Of course it is up to the children what they chose to draw. The KFV will provide the materials. As a particular highlight, traffic safety expert Helmi will be visiting all participating schools, providing information on the correct behaviour in the area surrounding the school. Communities, authorities and schools interested in more detailed information can contact the KFV directly, which will provide a comprehensive starter pack containing all important information, documents and materials.
Important safety tips for children and adults
For school children:
For parents and drivers: