Ensuring Road Safety in and Around School Zones: The Vital Role of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe’s Schools Program

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Ensuring Road Safety in and Around School Zones: The Vital Role of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe’s Schools Program

Road safety is a paramount concern, especially in areas where vulnerable road users, such as school children, are present. School zones demand particular attention due to the high concentration of students and the need for a safe commuting environment. Further, school zones are unique areas that require heightened attention to ensure the safety of children. The vulnerability of young pedestrians, coupled with the presence of high volumes of traffic, necessitates specific measures to protect them. Accidents in school zones can result in severe injuries or fatalities, impacting not only the children involved, but also the entire community. Thus, prioritizing road safety in these areas is essential. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) plays a crucial role in promoting road safety through its Schools Program, aptly titled “Catch Them Young Programme” which aims to educate students about road rules and regulations.

School zones should be safe havens for children, ensuring their wellbeing as they travel to and from educational institutions. Unfortunately, these areas can also be prone to accidents and hazards. The proximity of schools to busy roads, coupled with the unpredictable behavior of young pedestrians, calls for proactive measures to improve road safety. By addressing this concern, we can protect the lives of students and instil responsible road behaviours from an early age. Measures to protect school children in school zones include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Reduced Speed Limits: One of the critical measures to enhance school zone safety is the implementation of reduced speed limits. Lowering the speed limit in school zones provides drivers with more time to react to potential hazards. It also decreases the severity of accidents, should they occur. To ensure compliance with the law and the safety of children in school zones, drivers should always pay close attention to road signs, be aware of their surroundings, and adjust their speed accordingly. It is crucial to exercise caution and reduce speed in areas where there is a higher likelihood of encountering pedestrians, particularly children, such as around schools and residential areas.
  • Traffic Calming Measures: Use traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, road narrowing, and raised pedestrian crossings to slow down vehicles and encourage drivers to be more cautious in school zones. These measures can help create a safer environment for children by reducing vehicle speeds.
  • Traffic Marshals: Employ trained traffic wardens/marshals or crossing guards to assist children in safely crossing roads near school zones. These individuals can help manage traffic flow, provide guidance to pedestrians, and ensure compliance with traffic rules.
  • Proper Signage and Road Markings: Clear and visible signage in school zones is crucial for driver awareness and compliance with traffic regulations. Signage should indicate the presence of a school zone, warn drivers of reduced speed limits, and provide visual cues for designated crossing areas. Well-placed signage serves as a constant reminder to drivers to exercise caution and remain vigilant in these areas.
  • Designated Crossing Areas: Designated crossing areas are fundamental to ensuring the safe passage of students across roads. These areas, such as marked crosswalks or pedestrian islands, provide a clear and designated space for children to cross safely. They should be well-maintained, properly marked, and equipped with adequate signage to alert drivers of the need to yield to pedestrians. Educating children on using designated crossing areas and reinforcing safe crossing practices is equally important.
  • Driver Awareness: Creating awareness among drivers about the presence of school zones and the need for caution is crucial. Driver education campaigns can help instil a sense of responsibility and encourage compliance with speed limits, yielding to pedestrians, and avoiding distractions while driving. By promoting driver awareness and responsible behaviour, we can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and create a safer environment for children.
  • Community Involvement: Community involvement is essential in creating safer school zones. Parents, teachers, community leaders, and local authorities should collaborate to identify and address specific road safety concerns in their school zones. This can involve conducting regular road safety appraisals, advocating for improved infrastructure, organizing educational events, and implementing traffic calming measures. Engaging the community fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility, ensuring sustained efforts to enhance school zone safety.

The TSCZ’s Schools Program plays a vital role in promoting road safety awareness among students. Through various initiatives, the program educates and empowers students to adhere to road rules and regulations. It equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills to make safe decisions as pedestrians, cyclists, and future drivers. By engaging with schools, the TSCZ fosters a culture of road safety and creates a positive impact within the education sector.

The TSCZ’s “Catch Them Young Programme” holds immense relevance in addressing road safety in school zones. By directly engaging with students, the program targets the most vulnerable road users and equips them with essential knowledge about traffic rules, pedestrian safety, and responsible road behaviours. The program’s interactive nature, including, road safety campaigns, and educational materials, ensures students actively participate and retain valuable information. Through this comprehensive approach, the TSCZ’s Schools Program goes a long way in contributing to a reduction in accidents, injuries, and fatalities in and around school zones.

While the TSCZ’s Schools Program plays a significant role, the involvement of the education sector is equally crucial. Collaboration between the TSCZ and educational institutions can enhance the effectiveness of road safety initiatives. We urge schools to incorporate road safety education into their curriculum, reinforcing the lessons taught by the TSCZ. Teachers, as influential figures in students’ lives, can further promote road safety by incorporating it into various subjects, organizing awareness campaigns, and leading by example. By actively participating in this Program, the education sector can create a lasting impact on students’ road safety awareness.

Ensuring road safety in and around school zones is essential for protecting the lives of students and fostering responsible road behaviour. The TSCZ’s Schools Program plays a critical role in educating students about road rules and regulations. The collaboration between the TSCZ and the education sector further strengthens road safety initiatives. By incorporating road safety education into the curriculum and encouraging active participation, we can create a safer environment for students and inculcate lifelong road safety habits. Together, let us strive for road safety excellence and safeguard the well-being of our children.


The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe emerged from the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Board which originated from a voluntary organisation composed of area associations in Harare (then Salisbury), Bulawayo, Gweru (then Gwelo) and Mutare (then Umtali).

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