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Keep our kids safe as they travel to school

Posted on September 2, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

After a couple months of summer vacation, students are heading back to school for another year of learning. Getting to and from school often means riding a bus, pedaling their bikes, or walking with friends or siblings.

For the youngsters, that means learning the rules of the road, including crossing at crosswalks, looking both ways before crossing the street, and obeying the rules when riding their bikes. Parents should have their children well-learned in the proper procedures before letting them venture out on their own.

Children under nine years of year should always be accompanied by a an adult or older child, particularly when crossing the street. Teach them to only proceed when it is safe.

Younger children are especially excited about heading to school in the first few weeks and may forget about some of the rules as they rush to meet up with friends or to get to school before the bell rings.

According to recent provincial statistics, more than 5,500 school buses transport approximately 265,000 young people to and from school and travel more than 400,000 kilometers of roads in Alberta.

Sadly, between 2007-11, 250 children (using yearly averages) under the age of 15 were killed or injured  as pedestrians or cyclists.

The students and their parents or caregivers have a responsibility to know and follow the rules; but motorists have to do their part as well.

According to Saferoads Alberta, about 40 percent of other drivers involved in collisions with school buses in Alberta committed a driver error. The three primary errors in these collisions are following too closely, backing up in an unsafe manner, and stop sign violations.

In 2008, Alberta Transportation announced a 10-point action plan for improving school bus safety across the province. The plan was based on recommendations that came out of a comprehensive report that looked at collisions in the province and focused on school bus visibility and driver training (the report indicated that 60 percent of school bus collisions are caused by the driver of the other vehicle).

It takes a coordinated effort by all parties; students, parents, drivers, and other motorists, to ensure our young people get to and from school safely.

Follow the rules and keep our kids safe.

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