With students back in the classroom from Rossland to Trail and the Beaver Valley on Tuesday, the district RCMP remind everyone behind the wheel to pay heed in all school zones.
“The Trail and Greater District detachment will step up its presence and traffic enforcement in local school zones all next week in an effort to slow down vehicle traffic as our children return to school,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich reported Aug. 26.
“We can all contribute to our children safely arriving at school.”
School zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday on regular school days.
Additionally, Wicentowich is reminding drivers about road rules regarding school buses.
“Please respect our local school buses when their amber/red lights are flashing,” he said. “And when they are displaying their stop signs as they pick up and drop off children. When you see a bus with flashing amber lights, you must slow down and prepare to stop.”
When the school bus is stopped and displaying flashing red lights and stop signs, drivers must also stop until the school bus has completed its pick up or drop off of students.
“Do not attempt to pass the school bus at anytime during this process as it may result in serious injury or death,” Wicentowich advised.
“It is up to all motorists to watch out for the children while driving through designated school zones.”
For those who don’t abide by the school zone traffic rules and get caught – the cost of a violation ticket might be the best deterrent when it comes to future driving behaviours.
Under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, failing to stop for a school bus can result in a $368 fine, and failing to obey a school guard section can yield the driver a $167 ticket.
Further, driving 21 km/hr to 40 km/hr over the school zone speed limit is subject to a $253 fine, and 41 km/hr to 60 km/hr over can result in a $368 fine.
Drivers may also have their vehicles impounded for speeds exceeding 40 km/hr over the posted limit.
For years, one of the most problematic school zones has been the highway crossing at Webster Elementary School.
Earlier this summer, members of Warfield council met with Sgt. Wicentowich and a representative of the school district, as well as local ministry heads.
Mayor Diane Langman says there were several outcomes from that meeting.
Those directives include the school district undertaking a parking study, putting up clear signage, sending more bulletins to parents as a way to increase announcements at school, and hiring another crosswalk guard is under advisement.
As well, the ministry has posted new signage alerting drivers of the 30km/hr school zone.
“The intersection in Warfield is a difficult one where visibility is not ideal due to the curve in the road and to see that there is a crosswalk/light ahead,” Langman told the Trail Times.
“We are not able to change the direction of the highway nor the location of the school, so we must work with what we have,” she said. “This is where I believe an underpass is the ideal solution along with continued police presence.”
Warfield council has also requested a formal meeting to discuss ongoing concerns at this particular intersection with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevena, during the September UBCM.
With school only days away, Langman reminds all of those travelling through Warfield that driving through the school zone means the speed limit is 30 km/hr.
“As the adults in control of those vehicles, we all are able to make this crosswalk safe by complying with the speed zone and ensuring children and residents are safe crossing the road,” she said.
“The children and teachers who were involved previously in some pretty scary close calls did absolutely everything right; the crosswalk safety education that our teachers and principal at Webster School are teaching our kids is working. Unfortunately it is the drivers who are either ignoring the speed zone, distracted driving, trying to get to their location 30 seconds faster; those are the people who are creating the issue at our crosswalk,” Langman said.
“So we appreciate the RCMP setting up at our school and their continued commitment towards the safety of our residents and children.”