EDITORIAL: A road reminder as kids return to school

With many of us trying to make the most of the dwindling days of summer, we shouldn’t be too quick to glance past the arrival of September – and with it the return of thousands of schoolchildren to Saanich’s streets and sidewalks.

Traffic will likely be heavier as kids head back to class on Tuesday, and drivers should expect to take a few more minutes to reach their destination and be alert to the possibility of encountering the unexpected along the way. Be aware that children could dart into traffic and that the vehicle stopped in front of you could be yielding for a pedestrian.

The 30 km/h school zones are back in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, with drivers facing a fine of $196 and three penalty points for being caught going over the limit. Those fines increase for those going more than 20 km/h over the limit, and the consequences can reach further than just your pocketbook. The most recent statistics show six children aged five to 18 are killed in crashes on Vancouver Island every year, with another 690 injured.

Parents should also keep in mind that back to school means more than just stocking up on supplies and picking up the latest gadgets. Take that moment to remind your youngster of the importance of following the rules of the road.

When dropping off children in a school zone, parents should have them exit on the side nearest the sidewalk. Parents should also sit down with their children to stress the importance of safety on the way to and from school. It is also recommended that students put away their MP3 players, phones and other gadgets so they can focus their full attention on the road.

We can all do our part to prevent tragedy from tarnishing the start of another school year.