RSA and ESB Networks encourage parents and teachers to put road safety on the ‘Back to School’ checklist and make school gateway safety a priority
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and ESB Networks urge parents, guardians and teachers to make road safety a priority and put in place a school gateway safety policy to ensure the safety of all children.
Three children aged 14 and under have died in the first eight months of the year on Irish roads. In 2014, 13 children lost their lives, so while the number of child casualties so far this year has reduced significantly, one young life lost is too many. Of the children who died on our roads this year, two were pedestrians, and one was a car passenger. Between 2010 -2014, there have been 36 fatalities of children aged 14 years and under.
RSA and ESB Networks have teamed up to distribute 85,500 high visibility vests FREE to every child starting school this year. Schools can now register online for the RSA’s ‘Back to School’ road safety packs which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.
As part of their ongoing Safety program, ESB Networks will engage children in road and electrical safety through creating lesson plans and interactive games and competitions to be included on the Curriculum for Junior Schools.
This year, the RSA is encouraging parents to exercise caution when dropping their children off at the school gateway, which is a high risk area for children. School gateways can be highly congested, and it can be difficult for drivers to see children winding through the traffic. Many schools can’t cater for high volumes of traffic and with hundreds of children walking through the school gates every morning, it can be quite dangerous.
The RSA is urging parents, guardians and school boards to implement a clear policy on school gateway parking and safety. Many schools nationally have designated drop off points for children, so the RSA is asking parents to abide by these and to minimise any traffic build up outside of the school. Pay particular attention not to obstruct school bus drop off points and be vigilant when buses are dropping off or picking up children.
Ms. Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the Road Safety Authority commented: “While there has been a significant reduction in the number of children killed and seriously injured on our roads this year, any tragedy, particularly involving a young person, is one too many. We are delighted to work with ESB Networks this year to ensure every child who is starting school has a high visibility vest to keep them safe and seen on their way to and from school.
Every year, we remind parents and guardians to make sure that road safety is a top priority on their child’s back to school checklist. This year, we wish to particularly highlight the dangers posed to young children at the school gateway, and would encourage all parents to be absolutely vigilant when dropping their children off to school. Parking at school gates can be hazardous because of the degree of congestion at some schools, and we would encourage parents not to park on double yellow lines or in an unsafe way, and to make sure children are safe and seen when they exit the car. Children are the most vulnerable of our road-users so it is really important that they are shown an example by their parents and teachers in how to stay safe on the roads.”
Younger children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult so that they can learn by example how to use the road safely. When travelling by car or bus, children should always be restrained in the appropriate child restraint. For older children who may walk or cycle to school, it is important that they learn how to share the road safely with other road-users, for example, how to use hand signals to indicate a manoeuvre and always obeying the Rules of the Road.
Speaking at the Launch of the ‘Back to School’ Campaign, Gerry Mooney, ESB Networks, said: “This is a very important initiative for ESB Networks and we are delighted to partner with the RSA to promote road safety among our youngest road users and their families. We are delighted to be part of this project to ensure children to be seen by other road-users when walking or cycling to school, making sure our youngest and most vulnerable road users are clearly visible on the roads. It also reflects ESB Networks’ ongoing commitment to promoting safety for all at all times. We will build on this initiative to further our electrical safety education program (Stay Safe, Stay Clear) to schools throughout the Republic of Ireland.”
To register online for your packs, or for further road safety information for parents, teachers and students, visit www.rsa.ie/backtoschool