Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On the Road

School's Back Soon

Car crashes the top preventable cause of death for BC kids

Released by ICBC/Website photo


ith two weeks to go until school returns, ICBC is asking parents to begin preparing children for getting to and from school safely.


Every year in B.C., an average of 30 children aged five to 18 are killed and 5,100 injured in 14,700 crashes.

“As children across the province return to school in a couple of weeks, it’s the ideal time for parents to review the rules of the road with their children and take the time to go over their daily route with them,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Everyone should plan ahead for the return of the school season because the roads will be much busier, so remember to leave earlier to avoid rushing, stay focused on the road and use extra caution, especially around school zones.”

“Police across the province will be closely monitoring speeds in school zones to make sure drivers stick to the 30-km/h speed limit,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We want children to get a safe start to the school year so we’re asking drivers to be extra careful on our roads and watch for children.”

“The start of the school year is a busy time for children and a return back to regular routines for parents,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. "That’s why we’re encouraging parents to start talking to their children now about using extra caution when the school season begins. Even older children should be reminded to remove earbuds and headphones when walking and always make eye contact with drivers.”

Here are ICBC’s tips for drivers, parents and students to help everyone stay safe as school returns:

Tips for drivers:

  • When school is back in session, don’t forget that 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, stop and allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.

  • If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop. Always yield to pedestrians – it’s the law.

  • School buses will be back on our roads. Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

  • Before getting into your vehicle, make a habit of walking around your vehicle to make sure no small children are behind it. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.

Tips for parents and students:

Post these safety tips in your home and review them with your children – even older children need to be reminded about road safety.

  • Remove your headphones and put away your phone or other gadgets when crossing the street. Focus on the road so you can see, hear and respond safely.

  • Make eye contact with drivers, so you both know you see each other.

  • Road safety lessons should be fun and interactive. Memorize the chorus of “Walk ‘n’ Roll,” a song by children’s musician Will Stroetexternal link, which is included in ICBC’s kindergarten to grade three road safety curriculum: “Wear something bright; Look left and look right; Wait for the light; Make sure you’re in the driver’s eyesight.”

  • Teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible. Even at a crosswalk, be aware of traffic and always make sure that vehicles are stopped before walking. Use designated crossing points and follow pedestrian traffic signs and signals.

  • Dress to be seen. Wear bright or light coloured clothing. In dark or bad weather, wear reflective material on clothes or accessories.

  • Always walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk. This way, you’re further away from traffic. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles and drivers see you.

  • Be aware of parked vehicles in a parking lot or on the road. A driver may not see you between parked vehicles and you may not see them moving. Before crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look left-right-left around parked vehicles. Children should avoid taking shortcuts through parking lots.

ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students learn about road safety using fun and interactive activities. The materials are unique to each grade level from kindergarten to grade 10. To find out more, visit

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, on average, 10 children aged five to 18 are killed and 3,250 injured in 9,060 crashes every year. 

  • On Vancouver Island, on average, six children aged five to 18 are killed and 690 injured in 2,130 crashes every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, on average, eight children aged five to 18 are killed and 810 injured in 2,390 crashes every year.

  • In North Central BC, on average, seven children aged five to 18 are killed and 340 injured in 1,090 crashes every year.

*Crash and injury averages based on 2008 to 2012 data reported by ICBC. Fatal average based on 2007 to 2011 police-reported data.