RSA and ESB Networks urge caution and vigilance around school gates

  • RSA and ESB Networks to distribute high visibility vests to every
    child starting school this year
  • Back to school road safety packs available for all schools

Wednesday 28 August: The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and ESB Networks are appealing to parents, guardians and teachers to ensure road safety is on the back to school lesson plan for all school children. As children return to school it is also important to remind motorists to be mindful of our most vulnerable road-users.

A total of 35 children aged 15 and under have been killed on Irish roads in the 5 years from 2014-2018. Of these, 18 were passengers and 13 were pedestrians. The RSA is reminding parents to ensure their child is visible when walking or cycling to school, or when waiting for the school bus and is restrained correctly in the back of the car.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s back-to-school campaign, Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “With children returning to school over the coming days, road users need to be extra vigilant. In addition to the inevitable increased traffic levels, motorists and other road users should be conscious of children walking and cycling to and from school. Drivers need to pay attention to their speed, particularly in urban areas.

Congestion at the school gates is another particularly serious problem, with parents often double parking, or parking on yellow lines to drop their children off. The result is incredibly dangerous: small children weaving in and out of parked and moving cars at the school gate, many of whom are too small to be seen by drivers pulling in and out. Therefore, we are encouraging parents and teachers to be as proactive as possible when it comes to road safety. Parents can ensure their children are wearing high-visibility vests and when cycling make sure they are wearing a safety helmet and that their bikes should are properly equipped with bell, lights and reflective strips. Teachers can do their bit by educating children in road safety best practice at an early age.”

The RSA is also reminding parents when driving their child to school that it is important to ensure that they are properly secured in the correct seating. They should be secured in the back seat in a restraint appropriate to their individual height and weight. Children under 150cms in height and weighing less than 36 kilograms must use the correct child restraint when travelling in cars.

Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau commented: “It’s vital that we do everything we can to protect children on the roads. This includes wearing high visibility material when out walking or cycling, using a seatbelt or appropriate restraint when travelling by car or bus, and using protective equipment such as a helmet. It’s also really important that adults and young adults demonstrate safe behaviour around young people, so if you’re a parent, grandparent, older brother or sister, make sure you set a good example any time you use the road.”

For the ninth year running, the RSA and ESB Networks will distribute free high visibility vests to every child starting school in September. To date, this partnership has provided 880,000 children throughout the country with high visibility vests.

Mark Madigan, Senior Health and Safety Manager, ESB Networks, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with RSA to ensure that school children are visible on the roads and around school gates. Wearing a high-vis vest is so important whether you are walking, cycling or travelling on the school bus. We encourage all schools to utilise high-visibility materials to ensure children can be safe, by being seen. Our partnership with the RSA reflects ESB Networks' ongoing commitment to promoting safety. This initiative is part of our wider ‘Stay Safe, Stay Clear’ electrical safety campaign which we are promoting throughout schools in the Republic of Ireland.”

Ends

For further information contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008

Claire Rowley, Drury Porter Novelli: 01 260 5000 / 087 269 5014, claire.rowley@drurypn.ie

Notes to Editors

The ‘Back to School’ campaign

Primary schools will receive the RSA ‘Back to School’ Pack which contains:

  • A high visibility vest for every child starting school in partnership with ESB Networks
  • ‘Going to School’ leaflets for junior infants entering education. This is a parent’s guide to getting children to school safely;
  • A ‘Safe Cross Code’ promotional pack including a CD of the song and a poster with the words of the ‘Safe Cross Code’ song and dance to be taught in the classroom;
  • The ‘Educational News’ newsletter;
  • ESB Networks safety information leaflet about a fun, exciting and educational way for pupils from Infants to 6th Class to discover the benefits of electricity, while learning to be safe around it

Secondary schools will receive the RSA ‘Back to School’ pack which contains

  • Poster for 1st year students which includes cycling and walking tips for all students in school
  • Wall planner for leaving cert students for recording all the important dates and events while at the same time being reminded of their responsibility on the road when starting to drive.
  • Poster for leaving cert students entitled “Get This Season’s Killer Look”, and is aimed at discouraging women from wearing their seatbelts under their arm, which can cause horrific injuries in the event of a collision.

The RSA has also issued recommendations to schools if they intend to hire a bus to carry children to sporting or extracurricular activities. The bus company concerned should be asked to confirm in writing that it is providing safe and legal transport services. The RSA has compiled a useful Declaration of Compliance which outlines a checklist of important minimum legal requirements from bus owners. This can be downloaded and printed off from www.cvrt.ie.

The RSA also has a number of other road safety resources for teachers and students which aim to promote and encourage road safety among school-children.

At primary level, ‘Safe Cross Code’, ‘Street Smart’, ‘Be Safe’, ‘Let’s Go’, ‘Seatbelt Sheriff’ and ‘Hi Glo Silver’, teaches young road users how to use the roads safely.

At secondary level, there is the Junior Cycle wellbeing resource entitled ‘Road Safety Matters’ which is available for delivery to first years as well as the new updated ‘Your Road to Safety’ for Transition Year.

The RSA’s Nationwide Road Safety Education Service is available to visit schools to give a comprehensive road safety presentation to students which can be tailored to suit all class sizes, groups and ages. We tackle a range of topics on road safety including road safety at school, pedestrian and cycle safety, urban and rural transport issues, learning to drive and killer behaviours. This service is free of charge.

The RSA Shuttle, Rollover Simulator and ‘Street Smart’ will begin visiting schools nationwide at the start of the academic year.