With the new school year beginning soon, motorists are being urged to take extra care when driving near schools around the county. Cathoirleach of Mayo County Council, Councillor Al McDonnell, is leading the road safety campaign, which seeks to remind all motorists to put child safety first when driving during the school morning and afternoon rush hour.
Councillor McDonnell said: "The first week of school is always a very busy time on our roads and I encourage all road users to be mindful that children will again be back making this daily journey. Children will be walking, cycling, on buses and being dropped off and picked up in cars, so motorists need to be alert to their safety and exercise the utmost caution.
"We also need to be mindful that there will be large numbers of little 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 you are travelling near or past a school."
Mayo County Council's road safety officer, Noel Gibbons, also supports the campaign. He reiterated the cathoirleach's comments and said: "Slowing down around schools is vitally important no matter how much of a rush you may be in. Nothing is worth killing or injuring a child. All road users must obey speed limits, be patient, and make sure they park safely and legally when dropping off and collecting their children."
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. So 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 their drop off point.
Cathoirleach of Mayo County Council, Councillor Al McDonnell, also asked schools and teachers to help make road safety a priority this year by making road safety a key part of their lesson plans: "We would ask teachers to consider including a road safety lesson from the RSA's road safety resources in their classes. There's 'Be Safe' for primary level, which includes the 'Safe Cross Code' as well as 'Seatbelt Sheriff' for first class and 'Hi-Glo Silver' for second class. At secondary level there is a Junior Cycle resource called 'Streetwise' and there is also a programme for Transition Year called 'Your Road to Safety'. For both primary and secondary schools, there's also a new resource called 'Let's Go' which can also be used in conjunction with the existing RSA resources."
Copies of the resources can be obtained by contacting Mayo County Council's road safety officer or the Road Safety Authority directly.