The Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 18 May 2005

Ban 4WDs from schools

Killed...Bethany Holder.

LARGE four-wheel drives should be banned from parking near schools and drivers forced to obtain special licenses, following the death of a five-year-old student who was run over by one of the vehicles.
Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge yesterday made the recommendations following an inquest into the death of Bethany Holder, who was crushed on the grounds of Collaroy's Pittwater House School.

Premier Bob Carr yesterday said he would consider the ban but he was not sure how practical it would be to enforce.

On July 24, 2002, Daniel Holder watched helplessly as his daughter was struck down by a Nissan Patrol driven by another parent, turning into a parking spot on the school's grounds.

Ms Milledge said she was convinced tighter regulations had to be imposed on owners of 4WDs after hearing evidence of the difficulties driving the cumbersome vehicles.

Ms Milledge yesterday recommended all 4WDs over two tonnes be banned from entering primary school grounds and be forced to park 200m away.

She also said in her findings which she called Bethany's Recommendations that all pedestrian traffic on school grounds be separated from cars, with drivers of 4WDs required to get special licences.

The recommendations were welcomed by both the driver of the vehicle, Joan Maclennan, and Bethany's parents.

Ms Maclennan was sentenced to 250 hours' community service and had her licence suspended for three years following the death.

Owners of 4WDs reacted angrily to the recommendations, as the State Government promised to consider them.

4WD NSW president Robert Kelly said it was ridiculous to target one group of drivers.

He said station wagons were responsible for more crushing deaths and greater driver education was needed.


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