NT News - Thursday 19 May, 2005

Calls to ban 4WDs

By Rebecca Hewett
General News
Darwin Circulation. 22,957
Capital City Daily
494.18 sq.cms.


The Territory should ban large four-wheel-drives from within 200m of infant and primary schools, a leading road safety advocate said yesterday.

"Why shouldn't parents park 200m away and walk the rest with their children?" Pedestrian Council of Australia president Harold Scruby said.

"These cars - and we're talking about those over two tonnes - are dangerous.

"If parents walked with their children maybe we wouldn't have the obesity epidemic we have now."

Mr Scruby slammed the Territory's attitude to road safety and called on the federal Government to impose speed limits and a demerit point system if the NT Government proved unwilling.

"The Territory has to move into the 21st century," he said.

"They can't continue to behave like cowboys and expect the rest of the country to pay for it."

The pedestrian safety advocate last week gave evidence at an inquest into the death of five-year-old Bethany Holder, who was run over by a Nissan Patrol in the grounds of a Sydney school in 2002.

Coroner Jacqueline Milledge called for the introduction of a 200m exclusion zone for 4WDs around schools.

Mr Scruby dismissed claims the NT was different to Sydney and did not need similar restrictions.

"People need 4WDs more in the NT but they're not confined to the areas where they're necessary," he said. He called for better school design and for special 4WD licences.

Darwin mother-of-three Karen Piper, who owns a Nissan Patrol, said she "totally supported anything to improve child safety".

"It makes me nervous when there are young children around," she said. "I know there are visibility blocks. I'd be quite happy parking 200m away. It's not that far."

Ms Piper said her family used the Patrol for camping and "people moving". Her daughter Josephine plays double bass. "You're forever picking kids up and dropping them off," Ms Piper said. "That's probably what we use the car for the most."


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