LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – Hopefully, you enjoyed a nice quiet commute this morning — the last one of the summer before school resumes, and the last one before school zones kick back in on our roadways.
As local police forces get ready to ramp up enforcement next week, there is one particular kind of driver they will be ticketing a lot — and they usually have kids in the back seat.
“It isn’t always a random, anonymous person driving through the school zone that may be posing the risk,” says Constable Jeff Palmer with the West Vancouver Police Department.
“We have seen — while doing enforcement in school zones, where the majority of the tickets we are serving — are parents who are rushing into the area to drop their kid off.”
He says parents need to give themselves enough time to get their kids to school, especially as they re-adjust to the September routine.
Constable Ian MacDonald with the Abbotsford Police Department says drivers are creatures of habit, and every year, officers always hand out a lot of tickets when 30 km/h school zones come back into effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
“All we can do from an education and prevention standpoint is to remind people that Tuesday is fast-approaching, the kids are going to be back in school and all police agencies will be out in numbers making sure that people will adhere to those posted speed limits and travel safely,” says MacDonald. “The kids who will be in those crosswalks are just too valuable for all of us.”
Constable Palmer says parents should take some time before Tuesday to make sure younger children are prepared for the walk to school.
“Does your child understand which routes are safe? Are you modelling safe behaviour for your child in terms of roadway crossings? The risks are there and drivers need to be alert to more kids in crosswalks,” he explains.
“It’s very important to have these discussions with your child and even practice the walking route to school so they understand the proper way to present at a crosswalk and the proper way to safely cross after making eye contact with a driver to make sure they are stopping.”
Palmer says kids sometimes forget the basics.
“Especially because the kids are excited, they’re heading back to school and maybe they’re not thinking quite so much. Help them with some practice and some discussion so they’re doing everything they can to be safe.”
Many local police departments have resources on their websites for both parents and kids.