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Back to School Safety Tips Refresher


Back to school season has arrived, and with it, bright-eyed and bushy tailed children make their daily commute. Here are some tips to keep our children, roads and communities safe and accident-free.

Stop for Flashing Lights: It’s the Law!

According to Transport Canada Statistics, school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation.1 However, maintaining this high standard of safety requires your help as a driver. Have you ever been late for work only to get caught behind a school bus with its lights on? Your foot is on the pedal, and you’re tempted to pass the stopped bus. Under the provincial Highway Traffic Act, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped with its’ red signal lights flashing.2 When approaching a bus with the signal lights flashing, stop before the bus. Do not proceed until the bus driver has turned off the lights, stowed its stop sign and begins to move. Failure to comply with this law can result in a substantial fine and three demerit points.3 Subsequent offences can result in prison time.4 Obeying this important rule of the road helps to keep children safe while crossing the road to board the bus.

Crossing at Intersections

Traffic engineering studies show that pedestrians will usually choose the shortest distance route when crossing a road to get to their destination.5 As a driver, this means you must be vigilant when approaching an intersection. Scan both sides of the intersection for pedestrians who might be jay-walking. Where crossing guards are present and displaying a stop sign, the law requires that you stop prior to reaching the crossing and remain stopped until all pedestrians including the crossing guard have cleared the road.6 As a parent, instruct your children to only cross at the appropriate crosswalks after checking both ways to ensure it is safe to do so. Requiring your child to obey the directions of crossing guards will help to ensure the safety of all. Teach your child to refrain from jaywalking. Research shows young children have difficulty judging speed and distance, have a limited sense of danger and fail to understand or see complex traffic situations.7 Educating your child on the use of crosswalk signals and their meaning can help make for a safe and enjoyable commute to and from school.

Commuting to College or University? Stay Sober, Stay Safe

Young drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 are statistically more likely to be involved in alcohol and or/drug related fatalities while driving than any other age group.8 The American Brain Injury Society reports that young drivers are also more likely to drive while fatigued, drowsy or distracted.9 Further, even when they are not impaired, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse notes that 16-19-year-olds have a fatal crash rate four times higher than drivers aged 25-34, and nine times higher than those aged 45-54.10 Preventing the problem of youth drug and alcohol impaired driving requires concerted efforts from parents. Educate your child on the dangers of impaired driving before going off to school. Taking the time to have this conversation could save lives.

Have you or your loved one been injured in a motor vehicle accident?

Despite our most concerted efforts, accidents do happen. If you or your loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, our Oakville personal injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP are here to help. Our lawyers are well equipped to assist you with your needs, and we are conveniently located at 1464 Cornwall road. Call us today at 905-337-9568 to schedule your no-obligation consultation.


  1. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/tp-tp2436-rs200702-menu-133.htm
  2. Highway Traffic Act s 175(11)
  3. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section2.5.2.shtml
  4. HTA s 175(17)
  5. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/publications-53.htm#5
  6. HTA 176(3)
  7. Supra: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/publications-53.htm#5
  8. https://canadasafetycouncil.org/news/national-safe-driving-week-drugs-and-driving-deadly-combination
  9. https://canadasafetycouncil.org/news/national-safe-driving-week-drugs-and-driving-deadly-combination
  10. Holmes, E., Vanlaar W., and Robertson, R., The Problem of Youth Drugged Driving and Approaches to Prevention: A Systematic Literature Review (2014) Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at 1.
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