Burnaby, B.C. – As of 8:00 a.m. on Sept. 6, school zones are back in effect. Excited children will be walking, biking and jumping off of school buses all over the province, and drivers need to pay attention.
Research shows that most child pedestrian related injuries occur in September and October, followed by May and June, and that children aged five to 14 years are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related fatalities.
The BCAA Road Safety Foundation recommends that you avoid driving through school zones if possible throughout the school year.
“That goes for parents too,” says David Dunne, director of road safety programs for the foundation. “Parents that drive their children to and from school are actually the biggest danger to child pedestrians and cyclists around schools. The congestion caused by so many vehicles creates a very dangerous environment.”
School staff and parents continue to report incidents of drivers making U-turns, stopping in no-stopping zones, backing up into crosswalks, rolling through stop signs, ignoring the school safety patrollers, letting their children out from the driver’s side into oncoming traffic.
The most common offence is still speeding, says Dunne.
There is strong evidence from research with 10- and 11-year-old children that talking on a cellphone while crossing a street increases a child’s risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one-third.
Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is celebrating 82 years as the largest sponsor of School Safety Patrol programs in Canada. Supporting local community-based programs across the nation, their Back to School Month awareness campaign focuses on safety tips and information for child pedestrians, cyclists and school bus riders.