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Home > Your Council > Communications Office > Press releases from July 2019 > Back to school – make sure our children don't lear

28/08/19 Back to school – make sure our children don't learn lessons the hard way

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Donegal County Councils Road Safety Officer Brian O’Donnell is asking parents and motorists to ensure that our most vulnerable road users don’t learn lessons the hard way as thousands of children and young people get ready to return to school this week.


“This is a time of great preparation for families as everyone gets set for the new school year and as children are our most vulnerable road-users, it is up to all of us to ensure we play our part in keeping them safe on our roads” says Brian O’Donnell.


“We should all demonstrate good road safety behaviour at all times as children will learn from our example. When travelling to school by car or bus, make sure they know how important it is to put their seatbelt on at all times. Stress the importance of always putting on a seatbelt any time they get into a car, no matter how short the journey and always demonstrate good, safe responsible road behaviour.


Brian advises “if your child walks or cycles to school, take them on the route in advance and make sure they know where they are going and how to use the roads and footpaths safely.


“We are all fully aware that dangerous parking around schools is a serious problem, so we are appealing to motorists to assist schools by driving with proper care and attention and parking well away from no parking areas around schools. Motorists should adhere to the speed limits at schools during school hours and take responsibility for their own actions”.


The following ‘back to school’ advice is for parents and children:


For motorists

  • Reduce distractions in your car so you can concentrate on the road and pedestrians.
  • Remember to be especially careful in around schools and other areas where children are being picked up and dropped off.
  • Slow down when passing a stationary school bus when it is dropping off or picking up children and always adhere to the speed limits.
  • Be a good role model. Set a good example by always wearing your seatbelt, also ensuring that all passengers are wearing their seatbelt and always putting your phone away when driving.


For children

  • Not only are children at risk in vehicles or on bicycles, they are highly vulnerable as pedestrians.
  • Teach children at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the road. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  • Teach children to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the road. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers.
  • It’s always best to walk on footpaths and cross at a safe location, using pedestrian crossings when available.
  • Children under 10 need to cross the road with an adult. Every child is different, but most children are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until they are at least aged 10.


For further information on road safety for parents, teachers and students, visit   

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