School zones soon to be in effect
In just a week’s time, students will be packing their lunches and backpacks and heading off to the first day of the 2013-14 school year and motorists are being reminded that school zones will be in effect.
“School will soon be back in, and once again our youth will be on the roadways as pedestrians, cyclists, and passengers on the school buses,” says Barry Sallstrom, Regional Traffic Safety Consultant for the northeast central region with Alberta Transportation. “Watch out for them, and always follow the rules of the road.”
Motorists must be mindful to always yield to pedestrians and stop for buses when the red lights are flashing.
“I take my hat off to the school bus drivers that commit themselves to safely getting our children to and from school,” says Sallstrom, adding, “They do not have an easy job.”
He explains that there are far too many incidents where bus drivers have to deal with motorists who don’t stop for the buses as they should.
“The flashing lights mean stop. Failing to do so puts children at risk and could earn you a fine of $402, and loss of six demerits,” says Sallstrom.
School zones will also be in effect during school days, and it is a driver’s responsibility to know when school hours are and when the zones are in effect. All zones in St. Paul are in effect during school days between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9:30, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. and 4:30.
The speed limit in urban or rural school zones is 30km/h.
Along with keeping motorists alert to school buses and school zones, Sallstrom offers some tips to make sure children and parents are also following safe procedures when getting to and from school.
Teaching children to “point, pause and proceed,” and being alert at intersections is encouraged, along with following any bus-safety rules. Children that ride bikes must always wear a helmet, according to information from Sallstrom.
School buses in Alberta travel an estimated 450,000 km/day, which is more than 10 times around the earth.
About 40 per cent of the other drivers involved in collisions with school buses committed a driver error. The most common driver error committed by other drivers was following too closely.
The maximum speed limit for school buses is different than other vehicles on the highway. School buses, with or without passengers, must not exceed 90 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower, according to information from Sallstrom.
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