School zones can be dangerous places for children

BURNABY, BC, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - During the first week of school, and throughout the school year, school zones can be one of the most dangerous places for a child pedestrian.

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation would like parents, caregivers and all drivers to be aware of a few facts as kids head back to school.

    
    -   Research shows that most child pedestrian related injuries occur in
        September and October, followed by May and June, and children aged 5
        to 14 years are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related
        fatalities.

    -   The most frequently reported child pedestrian action that results in
        injury or death is crossing at an intersection followed by running
        onto the road.

    -   The majority of child pedestrian injuries and deaths occur in urban
        areas, however, when a pedestrian is hit on a rural road, the result
        is more likely to be fatal because of higher vehicle speeds.
    

"Talking or texting on cell phones is also a safety risk for pedestrians," says Linda Lawlor, School Safety Patrol Program Coordinator for the Foundation.

Preliminary research with 10 and 11 year old children provides strong evidence that talking on a cell phone while crossing a street increases a child's risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one third. This distraction, and its negative impact on a child's crossing decisions, has lead researchers to speculate on the risks of using other devices, such as mp3 players or texting.

The biggest risk to children in school zones is still those parents who continue to make U-turns, stop in no-stopping zones, back up into crosswalks, roll through stop signs, ignore the school safety patrollers, let their children out from the driver's side and into oncoming traffic and speed.

Lawlor suggests that parents and caregivers try healthier ways, such as walking or cycling, of getting to and from school. "Serious or fatal injury is preventable, if parents and drivers take an active role in keeping all kids safe. The more cars we can remove from the roadways around schools, the safer our kids will be."

    
    FINES AND PENALTIES:
    --------------------

    Most school zone speed limits are 30 km/h and are in effect weekdays
between 8 AM and 5 PM.

    Speed                 Fine   Penalty Points

    31 - 50 km/h          $196      3
    51 - 70 km/h          $253      3
    71 - 90 km/h          $368      3
    Greater than 90 km/h  $483      3
    

(Source: British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

About BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is a non-profit registered charity working with families, communities and business partners to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. For more information visit www.BCAATSF.ca or call 604-298-5107.

    
                             DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES
                               www.BCAATSF.ca
    

URL for this media release is: http://www.tsfbcaa.com/content/custompages/news.aspx

    
    SCHOOL TRAFFIC SAFETY TIPS:
    ---------------------------

    For Drivers:
    ------------

    -   Stop and Slow Down - In or near school and residential areas, and
        always be prepared to stop at marked crosswalks.

    -   Look for Clues - Such as School Zone signs, BCAA School Safety
        patrollers, bicycles, and playgrounds, which indicate children could
        be in the area.

    -   Parked Cars - Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs
        that children could dart into the road.

    -   Weather - Practice extra caution in adverse weather conditions.

    -   Commute Times - Pay particular attention near schools during the
        morning and afternoon hours. Reduce speed to 30 km/h in school zones
        on weekdays 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.

    -   School Buses - Always stop for school buses when their red lights are
        flashing for loading and unloading students.

    -   Expect the Unexpected - Kids darting out from between parked cars,
        other vehicles backing up, rolling through stop signs, pulling away
        without signaling, and making U-turns.

    For Families:
    -------------

    -   Walking - Walking car pools and buddies are great ways to get to
        school. Parents can take shifts and walk along a prescribed route
        picking up and dropping off children at designated stops along the
        way. Friends can meet up the same way and walk to and from school
        together, and older students take on the responsibility of walking
        with younger students on their way to or from school.

    -   Safe Routes - It is important that children travel along the safest
        routes possible to and from school. Children should walk on sidewalks
        if possible, cross at light-controlled or patrolled crosswalks, and
        avoid wooded areas or places where there is very little activity on
        the streets.

    -   Bike Riding - Helmets must be worn by law. Bright clothing with
        reflective strips and equipping bikes with front and rear lights adds
        to rider safety. All riders should be properly trained to ride a
        bicycle and understand and obey the rules of the road.

    -   Public transportation - The above strategies can also be modified
        with students using transit instead of walking or riding to school.

    -   Visibility - Make sure children are visible to other road users -
        wearing light coloured or reflective clothing if they will be out in
        low light. Make sure that small children understand that they are
        sometimes impossible for a driver to see. Make eye contact with
        drivers before stepping into the intersection.

    -   Know the Rules - Make sure that your kids get proper supervision by
        an adult that understand the rules and models good practices.

    -   No Cell Phones or Electronic Devices - Teach children not to use
        their cell phones while crossing streets, and to give their full
        attention to the environment around them.
    

SOURCE BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

For further information: For further information: Lennea Durant, Media Relations, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, 604-875-1182, lenneadurant@shaw.ca; Linda Lawlor, Coordinator, School Safety Patrol Program, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, 604-297-2153, linda.lawlor@bcaa.com


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