Reducing your speed saves more than a traffic offence - it could save a child's life Saint John NB

Speeding has become commonplace in Canada. According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, about 2.7 million Canadians admit to often driving w ...

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Reducing your speed saves more than a traffic offence - it could save a child's life

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(NC)-Speeding has become commonplace in Canada. According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, about 2.7 million Canadians admit to often driving well over the speed limit; and 2 million admit to often speeding up to get through a traffic light.

We all know that an increase in speed increases the risk of injury. But did you know that a child pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 50 km/hr has an 80 per cent chance of being killed vs. someone hit at 30 km/hr? The higher the speed, the less likely a motorist is to see a child pedestrian and even less likely to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting one. Think about this - for each 1.6 km reduction in average speed, collision frequency is reduced by 5 per cent - a big increase in safety for such a small reduction in speed.

When it comes to residential neighbourhoods where children are walking or playing, there is no excuse for speeding. Sadly, a staggering 2,412 child pedestrians are injured each year and approximately 30 are killed, usually crossing the street at an intersection within 5 kilometres of their home.

The onus is on drivers to drive a motor vehicle in a responsible manner. Here are a few pointers:

• Take responsibility for the speed and control of your vehicle.

• Share the road and always yield to pedestrians.

• Expect children to be children.

• Remember, roads are public spaces meant to be used by everyone.

Reducing speed is the number one recommendation for keeping child pedestrians safer. At speeds greater than 40 km/h, both drivers and child pedestrians may be more likely to make mistakes in judging the time required to stop or cross the street safely. At speeds between 30 - 40 km/hr, vehicles and child pedestrians are able to co-exist with relative safety. Canadians should drive at the designated speed limit, and no more - it could save a child's life.

These tips are part of the 2008 Safe Kids Week campaign - Safe Roads, Safe Kids - running from May 26 - June 1 and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. More information on why drivers should slow down, and on how to become a Community Pace Car, can be found at www.whatstherush.ca.

-News Canada