Cranbrook RCMP is reminding the public to slow down in school zones as another school year approaches. (Trail Times file photo)

Cranbrook RCMP reminding drivers to slow down as school year approaches

Whether you’re in a school zone or not, be cautious of kids walking to school, says RCMP

Cranbrook RCMP is reminding the public to slow down in school zones and watch for children walking as another school year approaches.

Police say that although school will look a bit different for kids this year, the rules around driving in school zones remain the same.

In a press release, RCMP said motorists need to slow down and watch for children whether or not they are in a school zone. Kids will be walking from their neighbourhoods to get to school so it’s important to be aware no matter where you are driving.

“It’s crucial that drivers slow down in school zones, watch for crosswalks, and be mindful of children,” said Cst. Katie Forgeron. “Be alert and watch for kids riding to school on their bikes. We all want our children to arrive at school and home safely.”

Drivers also need to be aware around school busses. Vehicles must stop in both directions when a school bus has its lights on and stop sign out.

“You are not allowed to pass a school bus just because you are on the opposite side of the road. All vehicles, in both directions, have to stop to allow kids on and off the busses,” Forgeron said.

READ MORE: SD5 releases back to school plans online

READ MORE: B.C. school staff, older students required to wear masks in ‘high traffic areas’

Students are also reminded to take caution when crossing the street, by looking both ways and using the crosswalk with crossing guards.

The Cranbrook RCMP will be out patrolling the school zones in an effort to remind drivers to be alert to all pedestrian traffic.

The local RCMP detachment offers the following tips for drivers:

Where school is in session, a 30 kilometre per hour school zone speed limit is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day, unless otherwise posted.

Plan ahead and be alert. Driving routes with less traffic in the summer may now face congestion, so give yourself extra time to get to your destination.

Take your time and don’t rush – especially through intersections. Look for children especially near or around crosswalks and intersections close to schools.

When dropping off children in a school zone stop and allow them to exit onto the sidewalk side of the car. Never allow a child to cross mid-block. Also refrain from stopping on the crosswalk in order to let your kids out of the vehicle.

If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop.

Always watch for pedestrians when you’re backing up. Before you get into your vehicle, make it a habit to walk around your vehicle to ensure no small kids are behind it. And remember, children will notice your driving behaviour as well as your pedestrian behaviour, so please set a good example for them.

Tickets and fines under the BC Motor Vehicle Act include, but aren’t limited to:

Speed in school / playground zone – $196 to $253

Fail to stop for school bus – $368

Fail to yield to pedestrian – $167

Pass vehicle yielding to pedestrian – $167

Disobey school guard / patrol – $167

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