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Safely Back to School
By Noel Gibbons
28, Aug 2009 - 08:35

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Road safety officials are warning pupils and drivers to be alert to potential road dangers as thousands of youngsters prepare for the new school year.

In many cases pupils will be undertaking new routes for the first time as a result of moving up to secondary schools or because they will be attending their first days at primary Schools.

Road safety literature aimed at children, teenagers and parents is being distributed to all primary and secondary schools in Co. Mayo. Posters will be displayed to remind teenagers that distractions on the road could be fatal.

 Road safety officer Mr Noel Gibbons said:  "Traffic is one of the biggest single cause of accidental death for young people. Teenager pedestrians can often be distracted, whether it's having fun with their mates, chatting on a mobile, listening to music or just thinking about something else. Students also reminded to always wear a seat belt if they are travelling in a car or bus.

"Teenagers expect independence as they travel on their own to school and elsewhere so while parents and carers should encourage teenagers to think for themselves, they should also reinforce road safety messages to teenagers in a way that still supports their independence." Sergeant Tom Calvey of Garda headquarters in Castlebar said:  "Our advice for parents with younger children is the best way to teach road safety is to practice real life situations.  Parents and carers are important role models so it is vital that they teach basic road safety messages by setting good examples when dealing with situations on a daily basis.  One of the most basic habits is to stop, look, listen and to hold hands with children when crossing the road."

As well as giving advice to students, road safety officials are warning motorists to take extra care on their journeys to work when children will be travelling to school and to pay attention at school flashing lights. A report on child road user casualties produced by the Road Safety Authority shows that a total of 141 children under 14 years of age died and 5,732 suffered serious and minor injuries on our roads between 1998 and 2005. The report “Child Road User Casualties 1998 to 2005” indicates that just under half (48.9 per cent) of children killed on our roads were pedestrians and over a third (35 per cent) of children killed were passengers in cars. In light of this information Mayo County Council’s Road Safety Officer is appealing to all parents and carers to make their children aware of the dangers on our roads.

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