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
For media queries, please contact:
RSA Communications Office: 096 25008
For more information on school gateway risk, see our school gateway safety video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF6nHp2r4gA
The ‘Back to School’ campaign and other Road Safety Authority Educational Initiatives
Teachers are encouraged to register online for the RSA ‘Back to School’ Pack for Primary Schools, 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 pack which is 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
The RSA also has a number of other road safety resources for teachers and students which aims to promote and encourage road safety among children aged five and under.
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 resource entitled ‘Streetwise’ as well as ‘Your Road to Safety’ for Transition Year. The ‘Let’s Go’ CD, which is a road safety resource for principals and teachers, will be delivered to every secondary school over the coming weeks.
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. Since 2013, 36,943 schools have availed of these educational resources. `
‘Back to School’ advice
The RSA also has the following ‘back to school’ advice for parents, guardians and children:
Travelling by Car
• All children should be restrained when travelling in a car;
• Select a restraint that is based on your child’s weight and height and is suitable for the type of car;
• Remember its safer if children travel in the rear of a car;
• Never leave children alone in a car.
Walking to School
• Small children should not cross roads alone. They cannot decide how far away a car is or how fast it is going;
• Walk the route to school with them in advance;
• Children walking on country roads should wear reflective armbands and bright clothing;
• If there is no footpath, walk on the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic keeping as close as possible to the side of the road;
• Show your child how to cross the road by example. Choose safe places to cross and take time to explain why i.e. footbridges, zebra or pelican crossings, lollipop lady/man or junior school warden patrol.
Travelling by Bus
• Teach children to take special care getting on or off a bus or mini-bus;
• While waiting for a bus, children should stand well in off the road;
• Before crossing the road they should wait until the bus has moved off and they can see clearly in both directions;
• If seatbelts are fitted, they must be worn.
• Make sure they are highly visible by wearing a reflective belt and bright clothes and wear a bicycle safety helmet on all journeys;
• Check that the bicycle’s brakes, lights, reflector and bell are in good working order.