Slow down

It’s the first day of school today, so remember to watch out for all of the youngsters excitedly rushing to school when you are driving through the streets and school zones.

It’s the first day of school today, so remember to watch out for all of the youngsters excitedly rushing to school when you are driving through the streets and school zones.

The leading cause of death for Canadian children under the age of 14 is child pedestrian incidents, according to Safe Kids Canada, a national program which aims to reduce child injuries.

Every year, more than 30 children are killed and 2,400 are seriously injured in Canada.

No one wants to be the one to cause any of those incidents — avoiding those injuries and deaths can be as simple as slowing down and being cautious when driving near schools, in school zones, and, well, everywhere.

Please be especially cautious in the mornings and afternoons when children, parents’ vehicles, school buses, pedestrians, and cyclists are out and sharing the busy streets. And please, do not use your cellphone while driving. It’s against the law, for good reason. On a similar note, parents should also talk to their children about the risks of cellphone use while crossing the street. According to Safe Kids Canada, only 28 per cent of parents discuss that risk with their children.

It’s important, too, not to pass school buses when their lights are flashing. Motorists may not be able to see around the bus, where children may be crossing the street ahead.

Waiting until the flashing lights are off and the do-not-pass sign is folded back down can be a pain, but it’s not the end of the world and it’s really not going to cost you that much time.

Being patient and obeying the law could save you some hefty fines. But most importantly, it could save a child’s life.

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