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B.C. government, ICBC and police ask drivers & parents to keep children safe as school returns

September 2, 2016

 

Every year, six children aged five to 18 walking, cycling or skateboarding are killed and 370 are injured in crashes throughout the province.* With children returning to school this week, the B.C. government, ICBC and police are asking drivers to watch for children, especially in or around school zones and expect more traffic on our roads.

Every year, 72 children are injured in crashes in school and playground zones in B.C. Police and Speed Watch volunteers will be closely monitoring drivers' speeds in school zones across the province to help children get a safe start to the school year.

Parents are encouraged to review the rules of the road with their children and go over their daily route to and from school.

Quotes:

"Car crashes remain the number one preventable cause of death for children in B.C.," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "We all need to do our part to keep children and students safe. That means giving yourself extra travel time so you aren't rushing and stay focused on the road. Use extra caution especially around school and playground zones."

"Drivers need to step up their awareness on our roads as children return to school," said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. "Slow down and pay attention to posted speed limits especially in playground or school zones. Drivers are also reminded they must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing."

"It's drivers' responsibility to be alert, slow down and watch for children to keep them safe on our roads as the school year begins," said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. "Police will be closely monitoring drivers' speeds in school zones to make sure they stick to the 30-km/h speed limit."

"The first week of school is a very exciting time for children," said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's director responsible for road safety. "They may be pre-occupied and forget about their safety around roadways. It's a great time for parents to go over the rules of the road with their children and their route to school. Even older children need to be reminded about road safety."

Tips for drivers:

  • Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • When you're dropping off your children in school zones, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.

  • If a vehicle's stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.

  • Watch for school buses. Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you're backing up.

Tips for parents and kids:

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, four children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 253 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 42 children are injured every year.

  • On Vancouver Island, two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 55 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 11 children are injured every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 43 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, 13 children are injured every year.

  • In North Central B.C., two children walking or cycling (aged five to 18) are killed and 16 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, six children are injured every year.

ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students from kindergarten to grade 10 learn about road safety topics unique to their grade level using fun and interactive activities.

*Notes about the data:

Crash and injury averages based on 2011 to 2015 data reported by ICBC. Fatal average based on 2010 to 2014 police-reported data. School/playground zone injury statistics based on police data from 2010 to 2014 (five year average).

Pedestrian includes a person in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy. This includes rollerblades, a skateboard, scooter, unicycle or similar wheeled device. 

Media contact:

Sam Corea
604-982-2480