Speed trap blitz to save children

The Daily Telegraph

Monday 5 August 2002

Last photo... Jodie Hewes, 8, pictured 24 hours before she was killed by a car outside her school


EXTRA speed cameras will be set up outside schools as part of a campaign to stop the rising number of children killed by reckless driving.

Yesterday's announcement came as the mother of eight-year-old Jodie Hewes who was crushed between two cars outside her school pleaded with motorists to take greater care.

Five children have died on their way to or from school in the past 18 months and another 142 have been injured.

The $1.5 million safety package announced by the State Government includes the installation of flashing lights at school crossings and an additional 10 "lollipop" traffic supervisors to patrol danger spots.

Kay Hewes was holding her little girl's hand when Jodie was killed outside St Catherine Laboure school in Gymea in February.

"I just want people to realise it only takes a split second for an accident to happen and a child's life to be lost," Mrs Hewes said.

"People might think they are only outside the school for a couple of minutes and not worry about the dangers of what they are doing, but that's all it took for my daughter to be killed."

The night before, Jodie was helping her brother celebrate his 11th birthday. Less than 24 hours later she was dead.

Roads Minister Carl Scully said a detailed study of the success of the initiatives would be conducted with a view to expanding the measures. It coincides with a provocative NSW Pedestrian Council television campaign to be aired from today.

The 30-second advertisement features a hearse carrying a child's coffin and is designed to shock viewers.

Seventeen per cent of the children hit on their way to or from school were hit on pedestrian crossings.

Meanwhile the Parents and Citizens Association plans to lobby the Government to implement "kiss and drop" zones outside every school in the state.

Mr Scully said the Roads and Traffic Authority, Department of Education and police would be consulted on the problem sites where the safety resources must be directed.

Speed camera shells will be installed outside 10 schools and three cameras, each worth $200,000, randomly rotated through the boxes.

About $500,000 has been allocated for supplementary policing with speeding, parking and turning violations to come under greater scrutiny.

Flashing lights are operating at 11 primary schools in areas such as Blacktown, Lithgow, Harbord and Bobs Farm near Port Stephens and a further 10 will be installed.

Mr Scully said parents were equally to blame as other motorists for flouting the road rules outside schools.

Pedestrian Council president Harold Scruby described some parents' behaviour as "outrageous".

And Parents and Citizens Association state president Sharryn Brownlee said road safety outside schools needed urgent attention.

  • The campaign's centrepiece is a 30-second TV ad featuring a hearse carrying a child's coffin.

  • The ad will be aired across Australia from today and is designed to be provocative, said Pedestrian Council of Australia CEO Harold Scruby.

  • Schools will receive bumper stickers and posters of the hearse as part of the campaign.

  • The bumper stickers read: "Illegal parking around schools endangers young lives"; and "Don't double park or stop in pedestrian zones, bus zones or on footpaths".