School Principals on Speeding in NZ

School principals speak with gritty honesty about having a student struck down by a vehicle outside their school, in the NZ Police road safety campaign on speeding near schools. The TV ad, released this month, is part of an extensive advertising campaign introduced last year.

School PrincipalOne teacher, pictured, tells about a road around the back of the school where some of the motorists almost go airborne as they go over the hill. Another teacher tells about a child stepping out on the crossing. “The car just went….” Another tells it like it is… “You can imagine what it must be like if something weighing a tonne, made of metal, hits a small body”. “Over the bonnet and into the windscreen and over the roof”. “When I realised that the marks that were on the road were actually the boy’s bloodstains it really hit home…”

The ad finishes with a shot of an empty desk and the super, “There’s no excuse for speeding around schools.”

The campaign is online at Land Transport NZ Ikiiki Whenua Aotearoa. Outdoor billboards and print advertising use simple numbers to remind drivers that any speed above 50 is unsafe.

Superintendent Dave CliffSuperintendent Dave Cliff, New Zealand Police National Road Policing Manager explains the thinking behind the TV ad.

“We cannot rest while we have people who still speed where children are walking to and from school. Children are so vulnerable. They are small, often easily distracted and unpredictable. Anybody driving near a school has to have their wits about them, really concentrate and always expect the unexpected. You are in a better position to react if or when something happens, if you are not speeding. We have heard some harrowing stories from school principals and they have been prepared to speak out because they do not want any school or family to have to go through what they have been through.”

Since February 7th 2007, NZ Police has been strictly enforcing the speed limit within 250 metres of the boundaries of all schools and preschools. Drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 4km /hr will be ticketed. The enforcement will be on a risk basis. This means that in general, speed enforcement and speed camera deployment times will be between 7.30 – am and 6 pm week days. This is when the majority of children are arriving or leaving school. However, it may also occur at other high-risk times when the school is being used for events such as sports events, galas and other school-based activities.

The new tough regime is supported by a national advertising campaign including television advertisements featuring school principals, billboards, radio and advertising in all national newspapers.

Some key facts

Between 2001 and 2005, around 500 child pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed each year during school terms. The main high-risk periods for child pedestrians and cyclists are between 7:30 – 9:00 am and 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Other high risk periods include after-school activities, sports, etc. If you strike a child with your vehicle, a few kilometres over the speed limit can be the difference between that child surviving and that child being seriously injured or killed. A child struck by a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h has only a 15% chance of survival whereas a child struck by a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h has a 55% chance of survival. At 60 km/h, it would take 50 metres to stop from the time you see a child on the road but at 50 km/h, it would take only 41 metres to stop.


The School Principals campaign was developed at Clemenger BBDO, Wellington, by executive creative director Philip Andrew, creative director Mark Hayricks, copywriter Chris Bleakley and art director John Plimmer, and agency producer Martin Gray.

Filming was shot by director Chris Dudman, via Robbers Dog.