larne parents have been warned that police will be paying special attention around the borough’s schools over the next number of weeks to try to prevent deaths or injuries during school run times.
Inappropriate parking, speeding and allowing children to travel in vehicles without proper restraints will all come under the spotlight of police on duty around school properties.
Head of Road and Armed Support, Superintendent Muir Clark warned: “Over the summer months, many of us have benefited from lower levels of traffic and shorter journey times.
“With thousands of children and young people returning to schools and colleges across Northern Ireland, it is essential that all road users leave greater time for their journey and most importantly, keep an eye out for children on bicycles or on foot, particularly close to schools, junctions and at bus stops.
“Parents should also stress to their children the need for road safety and in particular how to cross the road safely – looking both ways without being distracted by friends, mobile phones or music players. Pupils should also only cross where it is safe, preferably at pedestrian crossings.
”It is important that they cross precisely at these locations and not take the risk of crossing even a short distance away.
“They should also be aware that it’s better to miss the bus and be late as opposed to taking their chances by running across roads to catch a bus.”
“Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.”
Superintendent Clark also appealed for parents on the school run to ensure children travelling to school in cars are properly restrained, warning: “In a crash at just 30mph, an unrestrained child can be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight.
“This means that they would be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring them and quite possibly seriously injuring or even killing other passengers. They are also likely to be ejected from the car through one of the windows.
“Seatbelt legislation states:
“Children under three years MUST use an appropriate child restraint in any vehicle - the only exception being when travelling in a taxi, where they must use an adult belt, if no suitable restraint is available.
“In vehicles where seat belts are fitted, children from three years and up to 135cms in height or 12 years of age, must use the appropriate child restraint. The only exceptions are in respect of taxis, unexpected short journeys and where two fitted child restraints prevent the fitting of a third.
“Police will be paying special attention close to schools in the first few weeks of term and where offences are noted, whether for speeding, inappropriate parking or allowing children to travel unrestrained, will be issuing advice, guidance, warning and when appropriate, fixed penalty tickets which carry three penalty points,” Superintendent Clark said.