Sturgeon County – With students heading back to schools throughout Sturgeon County this week, Morinville RCMP are asking motorists to exercise extra caution, particularly when driving through school zones. RCMP and municipal peace officers will be in school zones throughout the school year to make sure drivers are observing posted speed limits.
Morinville’s school zone speed limit is 30 kilometres per hour and covers the entire school day from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Unless otherwise posted, as is the case in Morinville, that limit (for both urban and rural school zones) is 30 kilometres per hour and is in effect from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Additionally, speed limits in playground areas is 30 km/h and runs from 8:30 a.m. until one hour past sunset, unless otherwise posted.
But RCMP caution drivers there is more to school zone safety than merely observing the speed limits. Motorists are not allowed to pass another vehicle travelling in the same direction in school or playground zones. Additionally, motorists are asked to stay well back of school buses that have their lights activated. The fine for passing a school bus with its red lights flashing is $402 and six demerit points.
When travelling through school zones, motorists are asked to watch for school safety patrollers, identified by their orange vests, and to stop as directed. School safety patrollers, who are often student’s themselves, play a vital role in directing children safely across the street.
Cross walks outside of school zones are also something motorists need to consider as parked or stopped vehicles may hide a child crossing the road. The fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or passing a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk is $575 and four demerit points.
Parents are also encouraged to teach their children about traffic and pedestrian safety to help them stay safe while making their way to and from school. The following is a list of some of those safety tips parents can pass on to their children:
- Follow the bus safety rules – make sure your child always rides the bus safely.
- Before crossing the road: POINT across the road to show drivers you want to cross; PAUSE until the cars stop and you make eye contact with the drivers; PROCEED with your arm extended after all cars in all the lanes have stopped. Never run into the street.
- Ride legally – No helmet! No bike! If your child is under the age of 18 they must always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
- Remind your child to wear proper safety gear when rollerblading, skateboarding, or riding a scooter. Safety gear provides extra protection, reducing the chances of getting hurt.
- If children have portable music devices, it is safer to not use them while engaging in these types of activities.