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‘Pace Car’ program introduced in district

By Dave Ogilvie, Emo correspondent, Fort Frances Times Ltd.

The Farm Progress Building was indeed a busy place during the recent Rainy River Valley Agricultural Fall Fair in Emo. One organization which was present for the two-day event was Safe Communities Rainy River District.
Members of the group spent time at the fair handing out information about a new safety program created by Safe Kids Canada and sponsored by FedEx.
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The program called, “Walk This Way—Pedestrian Safety Program” was created by Safe Kids Canada to increase child pedestrian safety awareness by supporting speed reduction in communities across Canada.
Experts in the field of pedestrian safety developed appropriate messages for the media, communities, teachers, parents and caregivers in order to promote child pedestrian safety, and to educate drivers to the need for speed reduction in school zones.
The program includes five key messages aimed at educating drivers:

  • There is a direct correlation between an increase in vehicle speeds and the increase of the risk of injury;
  • Reducing vehicle speed has been proven to be effective in preventing crashes and reducing the severity of injuries;
  • For each 1.6 km/hr reduction in average speed, collision frequency is reduced by five percent;
  • A pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 50 km/hr is eight times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck at 30 km/hr.; and
  • Pedestrian safety is each driver’s responsibility.

Although the majority of children survive being hit by a car, they are often left with long-term disabilities and permanent damage to the head and various organs. Research has shown that the highest risk factors for pedestrian injury include driver speed, risky child behaviour, lack of adult supervision, and crossing the street at inappropriate locations.
Members of the Safe Communities committee distributed information about the program to interested visitors to the Emo Fair and signed up drivers asking them to display a “Pace Car’ decal in their car window and to be an example to other drivers by decreasing their speed in school zones.
All drivers who signed the pledge sheet promised “to become a Neighbourhood Pace Car driver by caring for others as I drive with courtesy and safety in mind.”
With students from across the district on their way back to school, it is vital that all drivers take extra care especially in school and community safety zones, watch for cars displaying the “Pace Car” decals and sign up as a safe driver by signing the pledge online at http://saferoutesns.ca/images/uploads/PaceCar_PledgeInsert.pdf.

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