August 29, 2014 5:48 pm

Police urge students to learn about road safety ahead of school year

TORONTO –  Police are warning parents to warn their kids about road safety as they head back to school in September.

Car accidents tend to peak in September when children head back to school and parents head back to work.

“You might see a 20 to 30 per cent uptake in collisions.” Steve Buckley, the city’s general manger of Transportation Services said.

The spike of collisions correlates with a 15 to 20 per cent increase in traffic volume throughout September, Buckley said.

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“It’s scary, very scary,” Elena Melgar, who has children going back to school, said.

“They know that they have to stop, when they see the stop sign they have to stop.”

Peel Regional Police said the biggest problem between drivers and pedestrians is distraction. Constable Thomas Ruttan said when children should be told to make eye contact with drivers when crossing the road.

“Stop texting, start walking.  When you finish walking, then text,” Ruttan said. “That is one of the things we are trying to do to educate our students.”

He said another problem is students who do not use designated crosswalks.

“There is no accommodation for pedestrian mid-block,” he said.  “Sure it is a little distance away but walking that little bit of a distance and through a designated crosswalk is much safer.”

According to city of Toronto statistics, collisions involving students during school hours was down almost 60 per cent between 2003 and 2012

But there were two tragic accidents in 2013.

Five-year old Kayleigh Callaghan-Belanger died in March after she was struck by a garbage truck on her way home from school.

In September, on the first day of school, fourteen year old Violet Liang was crossing the street near her school C.W. Jeffereys Collegiate Institute when she was struck and killed by a dump truck.

Peel Regional Police and Toronto Regional Police will patrol the school zones Tuesday morning to make sure everyone is slowing down and paying attention.

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