By Dave Hamilton
As of 8:00 am on September 6th, school zones are back in effect. Excited children will be walking, biking and jumping off of school buses all over the province, and drivers need to pay attention.
Research shows that most child pedestrian related injuries occur in September and October, followed by May and June, and that children aged 5 to 14 years are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related fatalities.
The BCAA Road Safety Foundation recommends that you avoid driving through school zones if possible throughout the school year.
“That goes for parents too,” says David Dunne, director of road safety programs for the foundation. “Parents that drive their children to and from school are actually the biggest danger to child pedestrians and cyclists around schools. The congestion caused by so many vehicles creates a very dangerous environment.”
School staff and parents continue to report incidents of drivers making U-turns, stopping in no-stopping zones, backing up into crosswalks, rolling through stop signs, ignoring the school safety patrollers, letting their children out from the driver’s side into oncoming traffic.
The most common offence is still speeding says Dunne,
Linda Lawlor, the BCAA Road Safety Foundation’s school safety program coordinator says that there is also a message for children who text or talk on their cell phones or have earphones on while walking or cycling to school.
“Kids should not be talking or texting on their cell phones when they are in intersections or school zones because they become less aware of situations around them when they are distracted by the use of these devices.”
There is strong evidence from research with ten and eleven year old children that talking on a cell phone while crossing a street increases a child’s risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one third.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is celebrating 82 years as the largest sponsor of School Safety Patrol programs in Canada. Supporting local community-based programs across the nation, their Back to School Month awareness campaign focuses on safety tips and information for child pedestrians, cyclists and school bus riders.
Serious or fatal injury is preventable, if parents, caregivers and drivers take an active role in keeping all kids safe, says Lawlor who is pleased that schools around B.C. are implementing school safety patrol programs to help protect their students.
FINES AND PENALTIES:
Most school zone speed limits are 30 km/h in effect weekdays
between 8 am and 5 pm.
Speed Against a Highway Sign Fine/Penalty Points
< 21 kms per hour over posted speed $138 3
21-40 kms per hour over posted speed $196 3
41- 60 km/h over posted speed $368 3 + 7 day vehicle impound **
Greater than 60 km/h over posted speed $483 3 + 7 day vehicle impound **
** for first contravention
(Source: British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
** New Excessive Speed Penalties – Introduced in September 2010
If you are caught speeding greater than 40 km over the posted speed limit you will automatically have your car impounded for seven days for a first offence, 30-days for a second offence, and 60-days for any subsequent offences within two years. You’ll also pay to get your car out. Towing and seven days of storage will cost you at least $210, a 30-day impoundment will cost around $700, while a 60-day impoundment will cost over $1200.
(Source: British Columbia Office
of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles)
The BCAA Road Safety Foundation is a non-profit registered charity working with families, communities and business partners to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. For more information visit www.BCAATSF.ca or call 604-298-5107.
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