Children and parents encouraged to be aware of road safety as new school year approaches

The RSA has launched its Back to School campaign, with high visibility jackets to be given to every child starting school

Children and parents encouraged to be aware of road safety as new school year approaches

File photo. Jaynie Monroe, Molly Clarke, Paige Graham, Lexi Roche and Mia Malone from Dublin schools. Image: RollingNews.ie

Parents and teachers are being urged to make road safety a priority as the new school term approaches.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has launched this year's 'Back to School' campaign to encourage children and parents to be aware of staying safe while on or near the road.

The campaign - which is sponsored by the ESB - will distribute high visibility vests to every child starting school this year, as well as information packs which will be sent out for schools and parents over the coming months.

The RSA says it has already helped distribute high visibility vests to around 700,000 children in Irish schools since its annual campaign began six years ago.

Four children aged 14 and under have died on Irish roads in the first eight months of this year, RSA figures show.

Between 2011 and 2015, 32 children - including 14 young pedestrians and two cyclists - were killed on our roads.

The RSA says it is important that parents ensure their kids are visible on rural roads - in particular while waiting for buses and as the shorter evenings begin to set in.

Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the RSA, says the message is particularly aimed at those starting school for the first time.

Speaking to Newstalk Lunchtime, she explained: "Really it's important that we get the message across to parents and guardians, how important it is to keep [children] visible - get the reflective gear on, make sure they're wearing their helmets.

"If they're going to school in a car or a bus, [ensure] they know how to belt up safely and use the correct child restraints," she added.