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School-time safety campaign focuses on belts and buses


SAD LOSS The late Niall Flynn.

Anton McNulty

The mother of a Mayo man who died in a traffic accident has urged students and parents to get behind a Mayo Road Safety Work Group campaign highlighting road safety around school buses.
An information leaflet, which school-bus drivers can distribute to pupils, is designed to educate the young passengers on how they should conduct themselves at pick-up and drop-off areas and on the bus. The campaign is also highlighting the importance of seat belts.
Anne Flynn, from Ardagh near Ballina, lost her son Niall in a traffic accident five years ago  has backed the campaign. Niall was 23 years old when he lost his life in a single-vehicle collision near Ballina on September 7, 2011.
Anne is urging people not to ‘become a road death statistic’, leaving loved ones behind to face a lifetime of regret and sadness at dreams unachieved. Anne, who wants no family to suffer the way hers has, is reminding all road users that seat belts, worn properly, save lives.
Mayo County Council Road Safety Officer, Noel Gibbons agrees that students and parents need to be reminded of the importance of wearing a seat belt on the journey to and from school.
“Whether it’s in a car or a school bus, it’s equally important. Put simply, seat belts save lives. Putting a safe routine in practice from day one will make it easier to follow and allow it to become habit forming for your child,” he said.
A 2014 Road Safety Authority study on seat-belt-wearing rates revealed that almost one in five vehicle occupants killed in 2013 were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
Mr Gibbons warned that increased levels of traffic can be expected over the next few weeks and that the morning rush hour can be particularly hazardous.
Inspector Mandy Gaynor, the traffic inspector based in Castlebar reminded motorists to take greater care and slow down when they see a school bus, as children could be getting on or off. “Otherwise a child’s life could be gone in a blink,” she said.

10 commandments of bus safety
1 Wait for the bus to stop completely before approaching the bus and stand clear of the door while it is opening.
2 Be courteous to the driver – they have a very responsible job to get you to your destination.
3 Go to your seat and put on your seat belt properly.
4 Be mannerly – do not distract the driver by moving around, shouting, or throwing items around.
5 When approaching your stop stay in your seat with your seatbelt securely fastened until the bus comes to a complete stop. If you are standing in the aisle when the bus driver brakes, there is nothing there to stop you moving forward and hitting the windscreen.
6 If you drop something when getting off the bus, do not pick it up until you tell the driver - he might not see you and drive away.
7 Stand clear from the bus doors and make sure all your clothing is free from the bus doors before they close.
8 When you are getting off the bus, look left in case there is a cyclist approaching on the kerb side of the bus.
9 Leaving the bus make sure to bring all your belongings with you.
10 Wait for the bus to move away before crossing the road. Do not cross in front or behind the bus to allow a clear view for yourself and for other drivers to see you.