Monday, August 31, 2009

Gearing up for Back to School

On Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, the majority of Toronto Students will be retuning to school.

Toronto road users are encouraged to prepare themselves now to make the return to school safer for our children. The Toronto Police Service will be paying special attention to school zones and playgrounds this week to ensure that any poor driving behaviours are addressed now when there are less children around play grounds and school zones.

The ‘Back to School – Getting them Back Safely’ Campaign will commence on September 8th and will run for two weeks to help ensure that the return to school is not compromised by road users who put the safety of our children at risk.

Motorists are reminded that:
- Areas that you drive in this week may be free of children but next week could be very busy with students going to and from school.
- A 10% reduction in speed can mean the difference between hitting a child and having a near miss.

Parents are reminded that:
- This week is an excellent time to remind your children of road safety principles that they may have forgotten over the summer months.
- Use this week to familiarize your children with safe routes to and from school.
- Start your back to school routine this week so that you don’t find yourself rushed or running behind schedule next week.
- Children should walk, not run and cross only at intersections or pedestrian crosswalks.

During last years ‘Back to School’ Campaign there were nearly two collisions per day involving school aged children that were either pedestrians or cycling. Collisions are both predictable and preventable and almost always can be avoided by increasing the time you have to react to a change that occurs in front of you. The easiest way to increase time is to slow down and allow more space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

The Traffic Services Reconstruction Office provided the following details:
- At 60 km/h a car travels at 16.68 meters per second or 54 feet per second
- At 50 km/h a car travels at 13.89 meters per second or 45 feet per second
- At 40 km/h a car travel at 11.12 meters per second or 36 feet per second

Therefore, the slower you travel the less distance you cover each and every second. 9 feet per second can be the difference between life and death. Ask any driver who has ever struck a child and one thing they wish they would have had is more time to react. By travelling slower, you have more time.

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