While the sunny skies and warm temperatures might have us thinking of a few last summer activities to squeeze into our schedules, we shouldn’t be too quick to gloss over the arrival of September — and with it the return of school children on our streets and sidewalks.
Children headed back to school this week, and drivers are reminded to use extra precaution as they head out on the road this week.
Every year in B.C., an average of more than 16,000 children between the ages of five and 18 are involved in crashes, resulting in 5,215 injuries and 34 deaths.
Many youngsters will be heading off to school for the first time, while others will be caught up in the excitement of seeing friends for the first time since school let out for the summer. Drivers should keep this in mind and be alert to the possibility of children darting out into traffic. Drivers are also asked to leave a little extra time to reach their destination, and to always watch out for pedestrians when backing up.
The 30 km/h school zones are back in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and drivers are urged to be aware that vehicles stopped in front of or beside you may be yielding for a pedestrian.
When dropping off children in a school zone, parents should have them exit on the side nearest the sidewalk. Parents should also sit down with their children to stress the importance of safety on the way to and from school. It is also recommended that students put away their MP3 players, phones and other gadgets so they can focus their full attention on the road.
We all have a role to play to ensure this school year isn’t marred by tragedy.
— Black Press, Penticton Western News