Child safety near traffic can be affected by two major players: drivers and parents. For their part, young children have not yet developed the necessary cognitive skills (depth perception, judging speed of oncoming cars, distance, etc.) to safely assess the dangers of the road.
As a driver, be aware of your surroundings and child safety traffic rules. For instance, be on the lookout for areas where children are likely to use or be near the road: crosswalks, school zones, playground zones, bus stops, near parks and residential complexes. Young children may be more difficult to see, and may run or ride bicycles quickly out of hidden driveways.
Although the de facto speed limit in B.C. municipalities is 50km/h, there are many neighbourhood streets and lanes where 30km/h is the appropriate speed to travel, even if it is not posted. Learn the locations of these zones along your route.
- Playground zones are in effect from dawn to dusk
- School zones are in effect from an hour before until an hour after school is in session, on school days during the school year
Research shows . . .
- If hit at 30km/h a child has a 90% chance of surviving
- If hit at 50km/h a child has an 80% chance of being KILLED
Parents can play a crucial role in child safety on roads. Not only can parents keep in mind all the same driver issues above, but they can play an active role in teaching their kids the dangers and risks of roadways as well. Keeping your kids playing away from high traffic areas and/or in plain view of any drivers that may pass by is an important step.
Seatbelts and Car Seats – for information on the rules concerning the use of appropriate restraints with infant and child passengers, see Seatbelts and Car Seats page on this website.
Smoking in Vehicles – To help protect children from second-hand smoke while they are passengers in motor vehicles, the Motor Vehicle Act states that no one may smoke in a vehicle that has a passenger under the age of 16. Tobacco smoke is particularly harmful to the developing system of a young child. As with other violations of the Motor Vehicle Act, enforcement of the legislation is the responsibility of local police departments and the RCMP. Individuals found to be in violation of the legislation will be subject to a fine, and failure to pay smoking violation fines will result in a refusal to issue drivers’ and vehicle licences.
Research indicates that smoking one cigarette in a parked vehicle with the windows rolled up will produce a concentration of second-hand smoke up to 11 times higher than what would be encountered in a smoky bar.
BCAA – School Safety