VANCOUVER, Sept. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - As summer vacations wrap up and
children return to school next week, ICBC, police and the provincial
government are reminding drivers to make smart decisions: plan ahead
for more traffic, drive with extra caution and watch for children,
especially in or around school zones.
Every year in B.C., an average of 16,045 children aged five to 18 are
involved in crashes, resulting in 5,215 injuries and 34 deaths.*
"We all need to do our part to keep students safe," said Education
Minister George Abbott. "School children will be everywhere in the
coming days and every driver should step up their awareness and make
sure they are paying attention at the wheel."
"Crashes close to schools and parks are preventable," said Shirley Bond,
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "We've heard
heart-breaking stories of children hurt and innocent lives lost. Let's
do our part to drive with more awareness and caution. Please slow down
and pay attention to posted speed limits especially in playground or
Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Traffic Committee Chair of the British
Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP) agrees, "We're
reminding drivers that it's their responsibility to be alert, slow down
and watch for children, especially near schools and playgrounds. Police
across the province will be monitoring school zones to ensure our
children get a safe start to the school year."
Drivers are reminded that the 30-km/h school zone speed limit is in
effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, unless otherwise
posted. Fines for speeding in a school or playground zone range from
$196 to $253. Drivers should also be aware that if they are caught
speeding 40 km or more over the posted speed limit they will face a
seven-day impoundment of their vehicle.
"We can all play an active role by making smart decisions — whether
we're driving, walking or cycling," said Fiona Temple, ICBC's Road
Safety Director. "If you have children, go over the road safety rules
and tips with them — make it a fun and interactive activity you can do
Every year, ICBC invests in road safety to help reduce crashes and
injuries, and save lives. In 2010, ICBC invested $46 million in road
safety initiatives. This includes funding enhanced police enforcement,
road improvements, educational resources, and advertising and awareness
ICBC provides free road safety curriculum materials to schools across
B.C., and last year, teachers ordered 2,400 packages. The materials are
customized to each grade level and designed to promote road safety
awareness among students. This year, ICBC is also running its second
annual youth contest, "YOUR AD HERE," offering high school students the
opportunity to design a road safety ad to be featured on next year's
ICBC road safety speakers also visit schools to educate young people
about the risks of driving and, each year, share their personal stories
with approximately 50,000 students across the province. Here are ICBC's
smart driving tips for drivers, parents and students:
Tips for parents and students
Post these safety tips somewhere in your home and review them with your
children — even older children need to be reminded about road safety.
No. 1: Remove your headphones; put away your phone, MP3 player or other gadgets
when crossing a street. Focus your full attention on the road.
No. 2: Use designated crossing points and follow pedestrian traffic signs and
signals. Make eye contact with drivers, so you both see each other.
Teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian
crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible.
No. 3: Dress to be seen. Wear bright- or light-coloured clothing. In dark or
bad weather, wear reflective material on clothes or accessories.
No. 4: Always walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk — away from the road. If
there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic so you can see oncoming
vehicles and drivers can see you.
No. 5: Be aware of parked vehicles in parking lots and on the road. Before
crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look
left-right-left around the parked vehicle and avoid taking unnecessary
shortcuts through parking lots.
Teach children this catchy chorus from "Walk 'n' Roll," a song by
children's musician Will Stroet, which is included in ICBC's K-3 school curriculum:
Wear something bright
Look left and look right
Wait for the light
Make sure you're in the driver's eyesight
Tips for drivers
No. 1: Plan ahead and be alert. Driving routes with less traffic in the summer
may now face congestion, so give yourself extra time to get to your
destination. Look for children especially near or around crosswalks and
No. 2: Always yield to pedestrians — it's the law.
No. 3: When dropping off children in a school zone, stop and allow them to exit
on the side of the car closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to
No. 4: If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they
may be yielding for a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop.
No. 5: Always watch for pedestrians when you're backing up. Before you get into
your vehicle, make it a habit to walk around your vehicle to ensure no
small children are behind it. And remember, children notice your
driving behaviour, so set an example and drive smart.
For more road safety tips, visit icbc.com and click on 'road safety.' To order ICBC's free curriculum, go to icbc.com/4teachers.
*Annual crash and injury averages based on 2006 to 2010 data from ICBC
and police. Annual fatal average based on 2005 to 2009 data from ICBC
and police. Data includes child pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle
For further information:
Media contact: Adam Grossman, 604-982-1332