Push for road safe kids

Warragul's Joan Leviston is calling for parents to revisit road safety after a near miss. 272003_02 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Jamie Salter

A Warragul resident is calling for parents and schools to remind children to be safe around roads after almost hitting a child with her car.

“If I had of hit him, I don’t think I would have ever driven again,“ 71 year old Joan Leviston said.

On February 21, Joan was driving home to Warragul along Pakenham’s Toomuc Valley Road when she got the fright of her life.

“I was driving 60km/h and saw a basketball flying across the road so I slammed the breaks down and then I saw a 10 to 12 year old boy chasing after the ball.

“He saw me, but kept running onto the road and another young driver in a Ute driving the opposite direction had to slam his break to avoid him.

“The child picked up the ball, looked at us and walked off.“

Joan believes the child was living in one of the units in the area, but was unable to identify the home to notify the child’s parents of the incident.

The traumatic experience has inspired Joan to speak up and remind parents and caregivers to warn children about the dangers of the road.

“I’m urging parents to check with their children and tell them what the road rules are,“ she said.

“Those children need to be retaught – I’m trying to do something before I hear someone has been hurt.

“If we can save a life, it will be worth it.“

With 12 grandchildren of her own, she said she understood the significance of teaching children how to act around busy roads.

“I was doing everything right but something like this can still happen,“ Joan said.

“Kids need to play in playgrounds not on the side of the road and parents need to be aware that it’s not often the car drivers fault.

“Have a chat to children and tell them to keep of the roads, because a lot of kids have tunnel vision.“

Joan said she hopes schools will pick up the important message of road safety and remind children to be aware of traffic in the lead up to school holidays.