#SlowDown Saskatchewan: SGI and law enforcement turn attention to school zones in September
Sept. 1, 2016
With classes back in session, school zone safety is the traffic safety spotlight for the month of September.
Police will be watching for traffic violations in and around school zones, including motorists speeding, driving distracted, failing to obey stop signs or yield signs, failing to yield for pedestrians, failing to obey crossing guards or failing to obey school bus cross arms and flashing lights.
“Children are among the most vulnerable road users and as a motorist it’s your duty to look out for them,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. “It’s critical to slow down and give the road your full attention in school zones. Not only does the small size of a child make them difficult to see, they can also be unpredictable as they may not yet understand rules of the road.”
During drop-off times school zones can become extremely congested with traffic and children, making it even more difficult to identify hazards. In 2014, there were 40 collisions in school zones in the province, resulting in 15 injuries.
When it comes to children and vehicles, there is little margin for error. SGI recommends motorists keep the following tips in mind when travelling in or near school zones and playgrounds:
- Reduce speed to the posted limit and be prepared to stop.
- Familiarize yourself with school zone locations and hours of operation. Unless you need to be in a school zone, plan a different route.
- Avoid distractions and give the road your full attention.
- Expect the unexpected and drive carefully, even if you have the right of way.
- Use caution when approaching or manoeuvring around school buses.
- Obey the direction of any signage, traffic control devices or crossing guards.
Throughout the 2016 school year, some school buses across the province will begin to use exterior overhead amber flashing light systems when preparing to stop, in addition to overhead red flashing lights that are used when a bus is stopped to pick up or drop off students. The amber lights provide an advanced warning to motorists, allowing them more time to slow down and safely react. Bylaws dictating the use of warning lights (and school bus traffic control devices, such as a stop arm) are dependant on the municipality. It’s important to familiarize yourself with bylaws in your area.
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.