The Donegal Road Safety Working Group has pleaded with parents, motorists, cyclists and children to take extra care on our roads around the county as schools return once again.
Thousands of schoolchildren return to their classes across the county this week meaning increased road-users as well as danger on our roads.
Road Safety Officer Brian O’Donnell said people must obey the rules of the road to ensure they remain safe.
“We need to keep children and families safe on our roads by slowing down, obeying the speed limits in school areas, and exercising extreme care when overtaking a stationary school bus.
“Road safety around schools and school buses is everyone’s responsibility, not just that of students, parents and teachers.
“Motorists need to look out for children, many of whom will be walking, cycling, travelling on buses and being dropped off and picked up in cars, so motorists need to be alert to their safety and exercise the utmost caution”.
“The first week of school is always a very busy time on our roads and I encourage all road users to be mindful that children will again be back making this daily journey. We also need to be mindful that there will be large numbers of little children attending school for the first time. Let’s ensure this is a positive experience for them by slowing down and taking extra care whenever you are travelling near or past a school”.
“Students need to be aware that it is important to cross the road safely without being distracted by talking with friends, texting on mobile phones or listening to music through headphones”.
He had a special word for drivers in the vicinity of schools – including parents collecting children in built-up areas.
“Drivers also need to remember that inattention is a major factor in road crashes, contributing to a large number of collisions. The number of reports being received from School Wardens, concerned parents and teachers in relation to impatient drivers and motorists that have absolutely no tolerance when having to wait for children crossing the road, is increasing”.
“Nothing excuses or justifies putting the lives of children in danger or the safety of other road users, especially if they are negotiating their journey at a pace that suits, and is safe for them”.
“Dangerous parking around schools is also contributing to the problem so we are appealing to people to help schools by driving with proper care and attention and parking well away from no parking areas around schools. Motorists should first and foremost take responsibility for their own actions.”
“The recent tragic deaths, means that Donegal continues to pay a heavy price on its roads with far too many people killed or maimed as a result of road traffic collisions. Behind each statistic there is a story of a father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister, grandchild, work colleague, classmate or friend whose life was transformed in an instant by a road traffic collision. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Road traffic collisions are not accidents, they are preventable and by everyone working together we can protect our communities from further tragedy. The key to making roads safer in Donegal rests with the people and communities in the county. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
“Parents and teachers can also help prepare children for the journey to and from school by discussing the importance of being safe on the roads. Parents and guardians are being asked to make a real effort to demonstrate good road safety behaviour at all times as your child learns from your example. So if your child walks or cycles to school, you are advised to take them on the route in advance and make sure they know where they are going. If they travel by car or bus, make sure they know how important it is to keep their seatbelt on at all times and remain seated until the vehicle is parked safely at their drop off point”.
“We would once again ask schools and teachers to help make road safety a priority this year by making road safety a key part of their lesson plans and consider including a road safety lesson from the RSA’s road safety resources in their classes. A number of resources are available for Primary and Secondary schools and copies of the resources can be obtained by contacting Donegal County Council’s Road Safety Officer or the Road Safety Authority directly”.
School road safety tips:
• Let children out of the vehicle on the correct side so as to avoid crossing the road;
• Never call out from the opposite side of the road, as young children have poor peripheral vision and may not see approaching vehicles when they cross;
• Wait for a child who is travelling by bus on the same side of the road as the bus stop;
• Take extra time to look for children at the school pick up point;
• Avoid parking too close to a marked school crossing;
• Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully particularly when reversing;
• Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours;
• Slow down when passing a stationary school bus.