Longbeach students want the speed limit reduced outside their school

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Longbeach School sent three students to seek a reduced speed limit outside their school this week and they didn’t mince their words.

You’ll have blood on your hands if you leave the speed limit at 100km/h, the three told Ashburton District Councillors about five times their age.

Freya Jemmett, Taylor Lamont and Yasmin Larry are Year 8 students at Longbeach and they can hear the speeding drivers on Longbeach Road.

The school has been trying for 11 years to have the speed limit reduced and now council has proposed a host of speed limit changes in the district and government is also planning 60km/h limits outside rural schools and 40km/h limits outside town schools.

The students told councillors to be early adopters and reduce the speed limit outside their school now.

Principal Neil Simons said it wasn’t just Longbeach, all schools in the district needed drivers to slow down when they passed a school.

The girls had done their homework before they spoke to councillors. They said it would take 98 metres for a car to stop in an emergency if the driver was doing 100km/h; 122m in the wet. A truck would take longer to stop.

By comparison a car doing 40km/h would need 26m to stop, or 45m if it was doing 60km/h.

“Which do you think is the right speed past a school,” they asked councillors meeting to hear submissions on proposed speed limit changes. Around 200 submissions were received when council consulted on its proposals. Councillors spent Monday afternoon making decisions that will be the subject of a report to full council and adopted around the end of August.

Young lives matter was the message sent loud and clear by Longbeach School.

Around 140 students attend Longbeach and their board of trustees also backed the girls’ message.

Principal Simons said the intersection of Boundary Road and Longbeach Road had already been the scene of two fatal accidents and students and staff regularly heard and saw near misses. Roading reports had identified the area as high risk because of its open speed limit and low visibility.

“This is a chance for the¬†Ashburton District Council to be leaders around the country and step up and get ahead of the proposed national changes and make changes across the district around schools,” he said.

Several other schools made submissions for reduced speed outside their schools.