This School Year Leave Little Environmental Footprints Instead of One Big One



    BURNABY, BC, Aug. 25 /CNW/ - Driving your kids to and from school every
day leaves a very large footprint on the environment. This school year the
BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is encouraging children and families to leave
little green footprints on their way by walking or riding a bike instead of
always taking the car.
    Driving kids to and from school every day can have a serious
environmental impact on children's lives. Not only does the pollution around
schools caused by idling vehicles cause health problems but the congestion of
cars in school zones creates an environment where children can be seriously
injured or even killed.
    When in school zones many parents 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.
    David Dunne, director of road safety programs for the BCAA Traffic Safety
Foundation hopes that parents will make this year the year that they start to
reduce the risk around their school during high commute times. "A lot of these
dangerous behaviours could be due to stress, time pressure, not being aware of
the risks they pose, or simply not caring. Parents are usually on their way to
work and in a hurry, and inevitably someone is going to get hurt." Parents
should consider dropping their children off a block or two away from the
school zone.
    The high cost of gas is good motivation for more families to look for
alternative ways to get to school. Dunne adds that, "if you live within
walking distance to your child's school, there is no need to be driving them
all of the time or all of the way. When people get back into a routine and can
see the real cost of their commutes, we hope that they will consider cutting
back this part of it." Research indicates that one-hour of idling uses
approximately one litre of gasoline. The average drop-off / pick-up is 10 min.
Doing the math that's about a litre of gas every three days wasted on idling
in a school zone.
    There are many safe alternatives to driving kids to and from school.
Dunne suggests walking or cycling with buddies. Parents or older siblings can
rotate turns taking a group of kids to and from school. He reminds families to
make sure that their kids use a safe route that everyone is familiar with.
Parents can set a good example and use this opportunity to teach their
children safe pedestrian, cycling and traffic practices and attitudes.
    The Traffic Safety Foundation is impressed that so many schools in BC
have implemented environmental initiatives, traffic reduction programs and
other strategies that reduce congestion, pollution, risk of injury, and
encourage a more active lifestyle.
    Signage, speed humps, and patrolled intersections are all part of this
strategy. Many schools have trained student patrollers to stand at the
curbside rather than walking into the middle of the street to help their
schoolmates cross safely.

    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

    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 understands the rules and models good practices.

    Available for Interview:

    David Dunne, Director of Road Safety Programs, BCAA Traffic Safety
Foundation

    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
    





For further information:

For further information: Lennea Durant, Media Relations, BCAA Traffic
Safety Foundation, Tel: (604) 875-1182, E-mail: lenneadurant@shaw.ca; David
Dunne, Director of Provincial Program, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, Tel:
(604) 297-2152, E-mail: David.Dunne@bcaa.com

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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