Following a summer of outdoor activities, traffic-free roads but unfortunately very poor weather, the new school year is again upon us. Motorists are being urged to take extra care when driving near schools around the county.
Donegal County Council and the Donegal Road Safety Working Group seek to remind all motorists to put child safety first when driving during the school morning and afternoon rush hour, and remind people that Road Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
“The first week of school is always a very busy time on our roads and I would encourage all road users to be mindful that children will again be back making this daily journey,” Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer said.
He added: “Children will be walking, cycling, travelling on buses and being dropped off and picked up in cars, so motorists need to be alert to their safety and exercise extreme caution. We also need to be aware that there will be large numbers of children attending school for the first time”.
“Let’s ensure this is a positive experience for them by slowing down and taking extra care whenever we are travelling near or past a school. Slowing down around schools is vitally important no matter how much of a rush you may be in. All road users must obey speed limits, be patient, and make sure they park safely and legally when dropping off and collecting their children, and motorists are also asked to be extra careful when overtaking parked school buses,” he said.
The school warden service caters for a large number of children attending schools in the county on a daily basis during school terms and is delivered at a number of schools throughout the county. The wardens are identifiable by the high visibility uniforms worn, and the STOP sign used to stop traffic. The school wardens, like Gardaí, have the legal power to stop traffic and all wardens are attempting to ensure that children get to and from school safely. In order to carry out their duties effectively they require the co-operation of all road users.
Parents and guardians are being asked to make a real effort to demonstrate good road safety behaviour at all times as your child learns from your example. If your child walks or cycles to school, you are advised to take them on the route in advance and make sure they know where they are going. If they travel by car or bus, make sure they know how important it is to keep their seatbelt on at all times and remain seated until the vehicle is parked safely at the drop off point.
Parents should be made aware of the need for appropriate and considerate parking in as many ways as possible. Information should be on the school’s website, in the school’s information book and in communications with new parents.
Copies of the resources or the service of the Road Safety Education Officer can be obtained by contacting the Road Safety Authority directly or Donegal County Council’s Road Safety Section, who will gladly assist with the request.