School Zone Rules In Effect
Prince George, B.C.- With public schools resuming classes today ( albeit for a short period) school zone rules are back in effect, and Prince George RCMP will be on the look out for those who violate the rules and will be writing tickets.
The Prince George RCMP’s Traffic Services Section will be conducting patrols and targeted enforcement around schools to help ensure children arrive safely to school and return home safely from school each day. This enforcement will be conducted in all school zones including those around rural schools outside of the City of Prince George.
School Zones are in effect from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on all school days and the speed limit for School Zones is 30 km/h, unless otherwise posted. Fines begin at $196 and rise significantly with the driver’s speed.
PG RCMP will be partnering with its Citizens Patrol volunteers and ICBC. The volunteers will be in school zones with speed watch signs displaying vehicle speeds and reminding drivers to slow down. To back up the speed watch, officers will be close by, ready to ticket those who ignore the signs.
“It’s very important to drive safely through school zones” says Sgt. LaBelle head of the Prince George RCMP’s Municipal Traffic Services Section. He says ensuring the safety of children and other vulnerable road users “is a priority for the RCMP. Violation tickets will be issued to those persons that endanger them.”
Research indicates a person struck by a vehicle travelling 30 km/hour has a 90% survival rate, while those struck by a vehicle travelling 50 km/h have a 20% survival rate. Research also shows that travelling 50 km/hr in a 30 km/h zone only saves a driver 4 to 10 seconds in time.
To reduce the number of cars in school zones, police are asking parents with older children to allow them to walk to school or to drop them off a few blocks away. This would give parents with younger children more access to safer areas. Police are also encouraging parents with younger children to walk to school with them.
In addition to the reduced speed in school zones, drivers are reminded it is against the law to pass a school bus that has its red, flashing lights activated. Drivers IN BOTH DIRECTIONS must stop and wait for the bus driver to load or offload children AND disengage the signal lights, before proceeding. Only then is it safe to proceed. School bus drivers are aware that you are being patient and often give drivers the opportunity to pass when it is safe to do so. The fine for Failing to Stop for a School Bus is $167. Similarly, the fine for Failing to Obey a School Guard or School Patrol is also $167. There are a number of schools in the Prince George area that employ school crossing guards along some of our busiest roads. .
As is the case with the start of school every year, PG RCMP are passing along some safety tips for students and drivers:
Tips for Students:
- Use designated crossing points and follow crossing signals where available;
- Remove headphones from music players and put down the cell phone when crossing the road;
- When crossing major roads, make sure that all lanes of traffic have stopped before walking across. Often drivers in the middle lanes don’t see pedestrians;
- Make eye contact with the drivers before stepping out onto crosswalks;
- Dress to be seen – daylight hours are decreasing, so wear brighter colours or reflective material whenever possible;
- Walk on the sidewalk, or if unavailable, walk on the side of the road facing the traffic;
- Walk well lit routes with less traffic;
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
Tips for Drivers:
- Plan ahead, leave earlier to allow yourself extra time through School Zones;
- Be alert to children near or around crosswalks and intersections;
- If a vehicle in a different lane slows or stops in front of you, slow down or stop and ensure that no one is on the crosswalk before proceeding;
- Always yield to pedestrians at intersections or designated crosswalks;
- When dropping off children in a School Zone, ensure you do so in a safe place where the children can exit onto a side walk. Please don’t stop in the travel portion of the road and hurry your children out.