Kitchener Fire Department, Waterloo police helping kids get back to school safely

When kids return to school on Tuesday, Kitchener Fire Department will be out in full force.

The city says that Kitchener fire trucks will be out in school zones in an attempt to help drivers remember to slow down and proceed with caution.

This will be the third year of the exercise, which is also designed to make students feel safe as they return to school.

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“We want kids to feel as safe as possible as they head back to school,” said Tom O’Hara, public education officer. “Kitchener Fire’s presence on the streets shows them that someone they trust is in the area and seeing the trucks and messages hopefully reminds parents and other drivers to slow down and stay safe in school zones.”

Waterloo Regional Police have also launched their annual Walk the Chalk.

It encourages people in the community to leave messages about safety on sidewalks as a way to promote safety.

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Police are also urging parents to plan a safe route to school and plan for pickup with their kids before that first bell rings.

They are also reminding drivers to stop in both directions for school bus lights and crosswalks.

OPP has also issued a reminder for drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted.

Provincial police say they investigated 304 school bus collisions in 2018 and said 76 were attributable to distracted driving.

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So far this year, there have been 158 school bus collisions with drivers distraction being blamed for 37 of the incidents.

“Drivers who use their cell phone or are distracted in other ways continue to endanger the lives of people of all ages who share the road with them, be it as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist,” OPP acting deputy commissioner Alison Jevons said in a statement. “With the new school year set to begin, we need all motorists to make a firm commitment to keeping all forms of distraction out of the driver’s seat.”

WATCH (Aug. 29, 2019): Back to school traffic safety reminder with Alberta RCMP

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