Police caution school safety for drivers

Police are urging drivers from the community to practice the rules of the road with caution this fall.

Police are urging drivers from the community to practice the rules of the road with caution this fall.

Many children will be walking and biking on the roads over the next two weeks while students return to school soon.

The Columbia Valley RCMP has made it clear that drivers must take special care following school and playground zone signage and be ready to stop at all times because children do not always notice oncoming traffic.

Columbia Valley RCMP Cpl. Grant Simpson added younger children have limited experience with traffic and often lack the skills to navigate the roads safely.

He explained it’s important for drivers to be patient and wait for children to cross the roads before proceeding.

Simpson suggested trying to make eye contact with children who are attempting to cross the streets before proceeding.

“Drivers have to slow down in the school zones because there are lots of kids using the walkways and riding their bikes to school,” said Cpl. Simpson, noting there will be roving patrols in school and playground zones every day throughout the school year. “People need to be very cognizant of those children.”

People who don’t follow the rules of the road will pay the price.

Mr. Simpson said drivers who pass a school bus with the flashing red lights can be fined $106 and will receive three demerits.

“(Fines for) speeding in a school zone depend on how fast the driver is going,” he added. “But the minimum is $196 and you can pay up to $253, which is also three points. It’s the same for playground zones, which is just a slightly different section under the Motor Vehicle Act.”

School zone hours are going to be in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday until Friday.

However, some playground zones are constantly in effect for drivers.

“These rules are enforced from the time children are going to school until the time that they are going home,” Simpson concluded. “Some playground zones vary, but the sign will generally say the hours that it’s in effect. If it doesn’t, then they’re in effect all the time.”