Police remind public of ‘back to school’ rules

With back-to-school traffic safety the focus for September, local police are asking for the public’s assistance.

  • Sep. 5, 2013 8:00 a.m.

With back-to-school traffic safety the focus for September, local police are asking for the public’s assistance.

With school starting up again, the Blackfalds RCMP and Lacombe City Police are reminding motorists to observe rules about driving in school zones and around school buses.

School zones speed limits are effective during school hours.

Regardless of whether the zone in question is in a rural or urban area, these limits are 30km/h.

It is worth noting that regular speed limits apply in school zones outside of school hours, such as evenings and weekends.

However, it is also important for motorists to familiarize themselves with the difference between a school zone and a playground zone.

Playground zones also have a speed limit of 30km/h but have hours in effect from 8:30 a.m. until one hour after sunset.

When a school bus is stopped with red lights flashing, often accompanied with a swing out arm and stop sign, and the roadway is undivided motorists, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop and wait until the bus has switched off its lights.

The fine for passing a school bus under such conditions is $402 in Alberta.

School buses are also equipped with white strobe lights to be seen in low visibility, such as foggy conditions and amber flashing lights that indicate the bus is slowing down.

These lights do not have the same function or meaning as flashing red stop lights, but motorists should always be familiar with them all the same.

Children returning to school are also being reminded of a few safety tips for back to school time.

For those children who enjoy riding their bikes, scooters or skateboards to and from school, remember to wear a helmet.

Also, children should remember to obey traffic laws as these modes of transportation count as vehicles and need to be dismounted before being walked across any intersections.

On that note, Lacombe City Police are also reminding both motorists and students that the intersection of Woodland Dr. and C & E Trail now has traffic lights and is no longer uncontrolled.

As such, pedestrians are reminded that they can no longer cross at will and have to wait for the proper signal light.

For the safe crossing of uncontrolled intersections, the RCMP recommend using the POINT, PAUSE and PROCEED method.

First, look both ways to make sure it is safe to cross, extend your arm to point in the direction you wish to cross and proceed across the intersection once you are sure it is safe to cross.

It is very important for both students and motorists to know and obey school traffic safety rules.

On average, approximately 288 children 15 and under are killed or injured as pedestrians or cyclists.

Approximately 80% of casualty collisions and over 90% of property damage collisions involving a school bus occurred in urban areas.

About 40% of the drivers involved in collisions with school buses committed a driver error, one of the most frequent errors being failing to stop for a stop sign.