School zone safety the focus for September
Motorists reminded to slow down and exercise caution
Sept. 1, 2015
Look out for children in school zones as if they were your own.
That’s the advice of former school bus driver Andy Schwindt, a current manager of Warner Transportation, the busing contractor for the Regina Public School Board. Schwindt knows firsthand the potential dangers of school zones: motorists speeding, disregarding cross walks, driving unsafely around buses, or simply exercising a lack of attention behind the wheel.
“I’ve seen it all too often where an impatient driver endangers a child’s life by failing to stop at a school zone cross walk with flashing red lights or fails to use caution by dangerously manoeuvring around a slowing or stopping school bus,” said Schwindt. “There is the potential for something bad to happen every day because of the way motorists are driving through school zones and aren’t watching or paying attention.”
Throughout the month of September, police will be watching for traffic violations in and around school zones, including drivers speeding or failing to respect signage, yield for pedestrians, or obey crossing guards or school bus cross arms and flashing lights.
“We all play a role in keeping our children safe and school zones require your full attention,” said Schwindt. “Drivers need to understand where they are, and ultimately, what could happen when travelling through school zones.”
In 20141, there were 40 collisions in school zones in the province, resulting in 15 injuries. Motorists are reminded of the following tips to ensure children are protected from harm as they go to and from school:
- Slow down and exercise additional caution when in a school zone.
- Avoid all distractions.
- Speed limits vary by municipality, but are marked with regulatory reflective signs. In some areas of the province, reduced speeds remain in effect evenings and weekends, not just during regular school hours and some all year long. Check with your local municipal office if you're unsure of the rules in your community.
- Respect busing lanes and exercise the utmost caution when approaching or manoeuvring around school buses. In school bus loading zones, obey all signs and signals and watch for children who may not know the rules of crossing the street.
“Drivers should be aware that a school bus can and will stop at any time,” said Schwindt. “If a bus is stopped, it is for a reason. Slow down and pay attention to what could be or is happening around the bus.”
Fines for speeding in school zones start at $140 and increase for every km/h over the posted speed limit. Penalties for speeding in school zones include three demerit points under SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition program. Photo speed enforcement is in use in select school zones in Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. Posted signs clearly indicate the presence of photo speed enforcement in these zones.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province's self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of nearly 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link under Online Services on your motor licence issuer's website or SGI's website.