Tanya Jeyachandran/ The Observer Local RCMP are reminding motorists that school zones speed limits are in effect. They're asking drivers to be particularly cautious around schools

RCMP urge caution as kids head back to school

Back to school driving tips from the RCMP and ICBC.

  • Sep. 9, 2016 3:00 p.m.

With the beginning of the school year local RCMP are reminding drivers to be especially careful and watch for children on the roads as the kids head back to class.

The start of the school year also means School Zone speed limits will be in effect throughout the region with maximum speed limits of 30 kilometers per hour during scheduled school days from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Police will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones across the Upper Fraser Valley area.

“The new school year provides a good opportunity for parents to speak to their children about road safety.  Police want to ensure everyone has a safe start to the school year and remind drivers to slow down and watch for children along the road,” says Corporal Mike Rail, spokesperson for the UFVRD.

A motorist speeding within a 30 km/hr school zone could face fines and potential points on his or her record, and depending on speed, could face having their vehicle impounded for seven days.

Pedestrian safety is both the driver and pedestrian’s responsibility. Children’s physical and mental capacities are still developing well into their teens and they are often unable to make safe judgments about pedestrian safety.  Parents are reminded to talk with their children about what to do before crossing the road. Teach your child to use their eyes and their ears, to always ‘Stop, Think, Look and Listen,’ even if there is a crossing guard or traffic signal. Distractions are equally dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians.

Some safety tips from RCMP and  ICBC :

Drivers:

• When dropping off your children in school zones, allow them time to exit the vehicle on the side closest to the sidewalk.  Never allow a child to cross the street mid-block.

• If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.

• Watch for school buses.  Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

• Do not operate a mobile device when driving.  It is illegal for drivers to hold, operate, communicate or watch the screen of a hand-held electronic communication device.

Pedestrians:

• Be aware of parked vehicles in a parking lot or on the road.  A driver may not see you between parked vehicles and you may not see them moving.  Before crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look left-right-left around parked vehicles.  Children should avoid taking shortcuts through parking lots.

• Stay alert until you have safely reached the other side of the road, cars can come from all directions.

• Stay ‘unplugged’ and leave gadgets in backpacks when walking or cycling, this will allow you to focus on the road, see, hear, and respond safely.

• Wear high visibility clothing.

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