Back to school is here and the Prince George RCMP want to remind the public to slow down in school zones and to watch for school buses and crossing guards.
School zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all school days and the speed limit for school zones is 30 km/h, unless otherwise posted. Fines begin at $196 and rise significantly with the driver’s speed. The Prince George RCMP’s Traffic Services and General Duty Sections will be conducting speed enforcement and patrols in all school zones in the Prince George area in September and throughout the school year.
“Children are small, unpredictable, and at this time of year, heavily distracted,” said Sgt. Matt LaBelle in charge of the detachment’s Municipal Traffic Services Section, in a news release. “Reducing your speed is vital to their safety.”
School Buses & Crossing Guards
According to provincial law, it is prohibited to overtake (pass) a school bus that is displaying red alternating lights. Drivers IN BOTH DIRECTIONS must stop and wait for the bus driver to load or offload children ANDdisengage the signal lights, before proceeding. Only then is it safe to proceed. School bus drivers are aware that you are being patient and often give drivers the opportunity to pass when it is safe to do so. The fine for Failing to Stop for a School Bus is $167. Similarly, the fine for Failing to Obey a School Guard or School Patrol is also $167. There are a number of schools in the Prince George area that employ school crossing guards along some of our busiest roads. Please be on the lookout for these safety guards and be sure to stop for them when directed.
If you see a traffic violation and want to make a report, please call our non-emergency line at 250-561-3300. In order to issue a violation ticket under BC’s Motor Vehicle Act, police require a formal statement and your willingness to attend court. Make note of the time, date & location of the offence, the license plate of the offending vehicle, direction of travel and a general description of the incident. If police are provided with a statement & your willingness to attend court, investigators can follow-up with the registered owner of the vehicle and issue them a violation ticket. We cannot do this without your witness account.
The Traffic Services Section is committed to increasing road-user safety, while decreasing the number of collisions at high-frequency locations within the City of Prince George.
Parents Should Remind Children about Dangers
Police would like to remind parents to talk to their children about road safety hazards and personal safety, including speaking to persons they do not know and immediately reporting suspicious incidents to an adult they trust. Further information can be found on the Street Proofing page in the BC RCMP’s website.
The Prince George RCMP would like to offer a few tips to students and drivers in preparation for back to school.
Tips for Students:
- Use designated crossing points and follow crossing signals where available;
- Remove headphones from music players and put down the cell phone when crossing the road;
- When crossing major roads, make sure that all lanes of traffic have stopped before walking across. Often drivers in the middle lanes don’t see pedestrians;
- Make eye contact with the drivers before stepping out onto crosswalks;
- Dress to be seen – daylight hours are decreasing, so wear brighter colours or reflective material whenever possible;
- Walk on the sidewalk, or if unavailable, walk on the side of the road facing the traffic;
- Walk on well-lit routes with less traffic;
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
Tips for Drivers:
- Plan ahead, leave earlier to allow yourself extra time through School Zones;
- Be alert to children near or around crosswalks and intersections;
- If a vehicle in a different lane slows or stops in front of you, slow down or stop and ensure that no one is on the crosswalk before proceeding;
- Always yield to pedestrians at intersections or designated crosswalks;
- When dropping off children in a School Zone, ensure you do so in a safe place where the children can exit onto a side walk. Please don’t stop in the travel portion of the road and hurry your children out.
For more information about back to school related laws in British Columbia, please refer to the BC Motor Vehicle Act.