RCMP warn drivers to slow down as school starts

RCMP warn drivers to slow down as school starts

It’s that time of year again when parents are sending their kids back to school. The Cranbrook RCMP is reminding everyone to be vigilant as youth will be out in full force.

As a motorist, slow down and watch for children. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re in a school zone, as kids have to walk from their neighbourhood to get to school so there are going to be children out even if a school isn’t nearby.

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

School busses will also be ferrying youth to and from schools. The Cranbrook RCMP would like to educate drivers to the fact that 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.” Tips for drivers: Where school is in session, a 30-km/h 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 are not 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

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.