Start this school year with a lesson in traffic safety

    BURNABY, BC, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - Start this school year off with a very
important lesson: learn the rules of the road. School zones are one of the
most dangerous places for children. The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation notes
that the well being of school-aged children and volunteer school safety
patrollers is a serious traffic safety issue.
    "The shocking thing is that parents are the worst violators," stated
Allan Lamb, executive director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. "Almost
half of the children in BC are driven to school and many parents don't follow
the rules in school zones." Parents continue to do U-turns, stop in
no-stopping zones, back up into crosswalks, roll through stop signs, let their
children out from the driver's side and into oncoming traffic, and speed.
    Many schools in BC have implemented traffic reduction programs and other
strategies that reduce congestion, pollution, risk of injury, and encourage a
more active lifestyle. Signage, patrolled intersections and 30 km/h school
zone speed limits (in effect weekdays between 8 AM and 5 PM) are all part of
this strategy.
    The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation also reminds drivers to look for
patrollers at curbside rather than expecting them to walk into the middle of
the street. The curbside approach is in keeping with the safest school patrol
practices and is safer for the patrollers.
    "Trained student patrollers are a committed group of students who take
their traffic safety responsibilities seriously. Their important work is not
only appreciated by fellow students but by teachers, parents and the
community," says Linda Lawlor, School Safety Patrol Program Coordinator for
the Foundation.
    In 2005, 13.8% of all people killed or injured in vehicle-pedestrian
collisions were under the age of 16 (ICBC Traffic Collision Statistics 2005
and most recent data available).

    Penalties for speeding in a school zone are:
    31 - 50 km/h  $173  3 points
    51 - 70 km/h  $230  3 points
    71 - 90 km/h  $345  3 points
    over 90 km/h  $460  3 points

    For more information about school safety or the BCAA Traffic Safety
Foundation visit or call 604-298-5107.


    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.

    For Families:
    -   Walking - Walking car pools/school buses 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 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 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.

                             DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Lennea Durant, Media Relations,
BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, (604) 875-1182,; Program
Information: Allan Lamb, Executive Director, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation,
(604) 297-2151,

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BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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