As youngsters end their summer break and flood back into schools today, parents are breathing sighs of relief and taking a quick inhale as seasonal concerns return.
Will their child get along with the new teacher and like his courses? Is the workload going to be reasonable? Will he get along with other students? Might she be bullied?
Probably near the bottom of the list is whether their student will make it to school and home safely, but statistics on two fronts suggest it's worth considering.
Preliminary figures from the B.C. coroner show car crashes are the most preventable cause of death for kids - an average of 820 children are hurt and eight are killed in the Southern Interior every year.
Of course, this is for all travel, not just while commuting to school, but they're sobering numbers.
Stats also show that distracted driving continues to be one of the main causes of car accidents in B.C., accounting for a quarter of all fatal crashes in the last five years.
According to ICBC spokesman Mark Milner, a driver is four times more likely to crash while talking on a cellphone - be it handheld or hands-free, they're both distracting - and 23 times more likely to be in an accident if texting while driving.
Talking or texting isn't just another momentary distraction that drivers cope with whenever they're behind the wheel. Several minutes or more of multi-tasking creates a high risk.
"Really, the distraction is the conversation itself," Milner said. "It's likely a little bit worse with a handheld as you're driving with only one hand on the wheel, limiting your range of motion" and slowing response time.
ICBC launched some new cellphone ringtones this week that people can download for free with catchy names like Texty Lady and Voicemail My Heart.
The objective isn't necessarily that drivers won't answer their phone just because of a ringtone, but to get people thinking about whether they should take calls while on the road.
You can bet parents will be doing all they can to remind their little ones to watch for cars, make eye contact when crossing the road and the usual safety tips, but it's up to the rest of us to help keep them safe, too.
After a summer without school children on the move, drivers have to re-adjust their thinking, and school zones in particular require extra caution.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.