A safe start to the school year

THORNHILL, ON, Sept. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - The Labour Day long weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the start of a new school year. As students head back to the classroom, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is reminding drivers to avoid distractions behind the wheel and watch for children walking and biking to and from school.

"Students of all ages can be easily distracted by friends and gadgets, that's why it is so important for drivers to be extra careful in school zones and residential neighbourhoods, especially before or after school hours. Drivers should also be focused while behind the wheel and always avoid talking or texting on their phone. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a second, can change the rest of your life," said Elliott Silverstein, Government Relations Manager, CAA SCO.

"The Ontario Provincial Police continue to see distracted driving as a major cause of death and injury on provincial highways. Distracted and inattentive driving are major contributors to collisions, resulting in traffic‎ congestion and delays. With the new increased set fine of $490 and 3 demerit points for distracted driving, I hope this will change driving behavior, resulting in safe roads for all users. The OPP continues to be diligent in enforcing this law, and all others, to improve road safety‎," said Chief Supt. Chuck Cox, Commander, Highway Safety Division, Ontario Provincial Police.

When driving, stay alert and remember to:

  • Avoid talking or texting on your phone or activities that may take your attention away from the road.
  • Always check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and behind your vehicle before backing up.
  • Slow down and pay extra attention in residential areas and school zones.
  • Be ready to stop at all times as children may dart out between parked vehicles.
  • Come to a complete stop for school buses when red lights are flashing. If you fail to do so, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and six demerit points.

More than 800,000 school students ride the bus each day in Ontario. When riding the bus, remember to:

  • Be at your bus stop ahead of time.
  • Stand back from the edge of the road in a safe location.
  • Hold onto the hand rail when entering or exiting the bus.
  • Keep the aisle clear of all items, including backpacks.
  • Follow the bus driver's instructions.

CAA School Safety Patrollers help their classmates get to and from school safely. There are over 55 police services, more than 800 schools and over 20,000 elementary school students in Ontario involved in the CAA School Safety Patrol program.

As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of 2 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

For further information: Media contact: Silvana Aceto, Media and PR Consultant, CAA SCO, sace@caasco.ca, Office: (905) 771-3194, Cell: (416) 209-4930; or Jeff LeMoine, Communications Consultant, CAA SCO, jlem@caasco.ca, Office: (905) 771-4709, Cell: (416) 254-0641.


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