This week marks back to school for Saskatchewan students and that’s why SGI’s Traffic Safety Spotlight for the month of September focuses on school zones. Streets become more active at the arrival and departure times of day. It’s the time of year that SGI, law enforcement, school officials and parents remind motorists that there’s a lot going on in school zones. In its news release, SGI reminds us there are students walking to and from the building, getting off the bus, being dropped off by a parent, playing in the school yard and crossing at the crosswalk.
The government insurer notes that as kids get prepared for their studies, drivers have a test to pass too: slow down, obey posted school zone speed limits, avoid distractions and be alert as you drive through these busy areas.
“Reducing your speed gives you more time to react and prevent a collision,” said SGI President and CEO Penny McCune. “Excited kids may not always be paying attention to vehicle traffic, so expect the unexpected and drive slowly and carefully.”
School zone speed limits and hours differ in each municipality, so drivers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules in their community and obey the posted signs.
Speeding in school zones will land drivers a failing grade – and a hefty fine. For example, getting caught driving 20 km/h over the posted limit results in a $310 ticket (and the cost of that ticket increases the faster you go).
Drivers will also receive 3 demerit points under the Safe Driver Recognition program.
“Police officers all too often see the tragic consequences of driver inattention. As children in our communities return to school, we urge drivers to be alert, follow the rules, slow down and use extra caution in school zones. Not only will this keep kids safe, it will keep us from having to write you an expensive ticket,” said Regina Police Service Traffic Safety Unit Sgt. Mark Golaiy.
When school buses are stopped with amber lights flashing, drivers should slow down and ensure kids aren’t about to pop out from the bus before passing. Avoid U-turns in school zones; some municipalities have by-laws that prohibit them.
“School divisions ask all communities in the province to pay close attention to safety as our school zones get busier,” said Saskatchewan School Boards Association President Jaimie Smith-Windsor. “We encourage motorists and everyone using roads and walkways to show care for staff and students.”
Help to keep school zones free of congestion; if you’re dropping off or picking up kids, be sure to obey the signs declaring “no stopping” zones.
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