Traffic congestion outside schools poses ‘incredibly dangerous’ risks to children

Road Safety Authority distributes free high-visibility vests to children starting school

 

The Road Safety Authority has warned that traffic congestion outside school gates is proving “incredibly dangerous” for small children.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s back-to-school road safety campaign, Moyagh Murdock, the authority’s chief executive, called on road users to be extra vigilant as the new academic year gets underway.

She said in addition to the inevitable increased traffic levels, motorists and other road users should be conscious of children walking and cycling to and from school.

“Congestion at the school gates is another particularly serious problem, with parents often double-parking, or parking on yellow lines to drop their children off,” she said.

“The result is incredibly dangerous: small children weaving in and out of parked and moving cars at the school gate, many of whom are too small to be seen by drivers pulling in and out.”

She said the authority is encouraging parents and teachers to be as proactive as possible when it comes to road safety.

Parents can ensure their children are wearing high-visibility vests and when cycling make sure they are wearing a safety helmet and that their bikes are properly equipped with bell, lights and reflective strips, Ms Murdock said.

Teachers can do their bit by educating children in road safety best practice at an early age, she added.

A total of 35 children aged 15 and under have been killed on Irish roads in the five years from 2014 to 2018, latest figures show.

Chief Supt Paul Cleary of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said, “If you’re a parent, grandparent, older brother or sister, make sure you set a good example any time you use the road.”

For the ninth year running, the RSA and ESB Networks will distribute free high visibility vests to every child starting school this year.

To date, this partnership has provided 880,000 children throughout the country with high-visibility vests.