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New road safety rules for back to school

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has published new guidelines for schools that aim to help improve road safety as pupils return to school for the start of the new academic year. 

The new guidelines give information and tools to assist schools implement a road safety plan that will reduce the risk of incidents occurring during the commute to and from school. 

In partnership with An Garda Síochána, the RSA are also appealing to parents, guardians and teachers to ensure road safety is on their back-to-school checklists. 

 Motorists are being reminded that there will be a significant increase in traffic in the coming days due to the rush of commuters going to school. They should also expect to see a rise in the number of children cycling, walking or scooting on their way to school. 

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton said: “I would encourage schools to read the new guidelines from the RSA and develop safety action plans to improve safety around their schools. 

“For example, one of the measures outlined in the guidelines is the Safe Routes to School programme which I launched earlier this year. As we invest almost €1 million per day in walking and cycling projects this year, the Safe Routes to School programme aims to create safer walking and cycling routes, to alleviate congestion at the school gates and increase the number of children walking, cycling, or scooting to school. This is being achieved by providing purpose-built walking and cycling facilities and in certain cases a complete reworking of a school’s entrance. 

“Earlier this summer, 170 schools were notified that they are part of the first round of funding for the new Safe Routes to School programme. Funding for the rolling programme will be provided from the €1.8 billion for walking and cycling infrastructure committed under the programme for government.”  

Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána commented: “We always urge road users to behave responsibly but extra vigilance is required as children return to school. There will be increased traffic volumes on the roads with parents dropping their children to school and we remind parents not to create a hazard by double parking or parking on yellow lines which is an offence and causes potentially dangerous obstructions around the school gate. It’s also vital that motorists reduce their speed near schools and ensure they give plenty of space when overtaking any children who might be cycling or walking to school. Drivers must also obey the instructions of school wardens as they are there to protect children when crossing the road.”  

The new guidelines for ‘Improving Road Safety Around Schools’ are available here. 

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(Featured image taken via: hildegarde.ie)

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