Safer school zones start with better driving
September's Traffic Safety Spotlight is on school zone safety
Sept. 5, 2017
Summer vacation is over and thousands of children are loading up their backpacks and heading back to school. School zones are busy spots but if drivers take extra care and caution, they don't have to be dangerous for kids.
"Children may not always cross the street safely. They sometimes expect vehicles to stop instantly and might not recognize danger until it's too late," Earl Cameron, Vice President of the Auto Fund said. "We're asking drivers to do their part to help our kids make it to and from school unharmed."
Throughout 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.
Fortunately, thanks to increased enforcement and safe driving behaviours, there were no pedestrians injured in school zones last year. However, there were 24,664 convictions for exceeding the speed limit in a school zone.
"September is an exciting and somewhat distracting time for students, parents and school staff. Their focus is on the new school year," said Greg Enion, Regina Public Schools, Director of Education. "If you're walking to school, please remember not to jaywalk, and when possible, cross only at intersections with crosswalks.
"If you are driving your students to school, please don't stop or park near the school entrance, and take care when driving away from the school," added Enion. "Most of all, we ask that you obey the reduced speed limit in all school zones. Together, we can help keep our students safe."
Fines for speeding in school zones start at $210 and increase for every km/h over the posted speed limit. You'll also be penalized three demerit points by SGI under the Safe Driver Recognition program, meaning you'll lose some of your discount or pay an additional financial penalty. 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.
Motorists are reminded of the following tips to ensure children are protected from harm in school zones:
- Obey school-zone speeds & crossing guards - Reduce speed to the posted limit and be prepared to stop.
- Use good judgment when stopping or parking – Remember not to stop in the middle of the road or blocking a crosswalk, and don't park in No Parking zones.
- Be careful around school buses - Respect busing lanes and obey all signs and signals in loading zones.
Parents can teach their children the following school zone safety tips:
- Don't jaywalk - Use crosswalks and traffic lights to cross the street.
- Look both ways before crossing the street - Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.
- Put away cellphones and electronics - Whether you're a motorist or a pedestrian, be aware of your surroundings at all times.