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Toronto police launch back-to-school safety blitz

Toronto police are out patrolling the streets Tuesday morning as children and teachers return to school, reminding drivers to be aware of the increase in pedestrians and vehicle traffic.

Sadly, the city saw its first pedestrian death by 8 a.m. A teenage girl was hit by a dump truck at Sentinel Road and Lamberton Boulevard, near Finch Avenue West and Keele Street.

Paramedics tell CityNews she died at the scene.

Police said they are targeting drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in school zones, looking for bad behaviour in pedestrian crossovers, crosswalks and intersections.

They’re also looking for driving offences, prohibited turns and distracted driving, as well as enforcing no stopping and no parking zones in school areas.

Failing to stop, in either direction, for a school bus with its lights flashing can result in a fine ranging from $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points for a first offence. Failing to yield for a school bus indicating it wants to move into your lane could result in a $500 fine.

School bus operators have been preparing for weeks to make sure the first day goes smoothly, the manager of safety and training at Stock Transportation told CityNews.

“Children are excited, it is the first day of school and we’ve got lots of vehicles on the road,” Natalie Orsono said.

“The safety of the children is paramount to all of us. When you see a school bus, pay attention, obey the stop arm and watch for kids.”

Police are also warning pedestrians against crossing mid-block.

The two-week safety campaign lasts until Sept. 13.

One police officer had another tip for students, reminding them to reach out to lonely kids: