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School zones are now in effect

Beginning today, schools in and around Prince George are welcoming children back to school for another year.  Private schools are opening their doors today, while public schools will begin tomorrow, Wednesday September 4.

The Prince George RCMP would like to remind the motoring public to slow down and watch for children throughout the community, but especially in and around schools zones. 

School Zone speed limits are 30 km per hour, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless otherwise posted.  Fines begin at $196 and rise significantly with the driver’s speed. 

The Prince George RCMP’s Traffic Services Section and other frontline officers will be refocusing their efforts towards back to school speed enforcement.  Officers will be conducting patrols and targeted enforcement around schools to help ensure the safety of students as the go to and from school.  Violation tickets for speed and other offences will be issued for anyone not obeying provincial traffic laws.

“It only takes a second to impact a child and their family for a lifetime,” said Cpl. Craig Douglass, spokesperson for the Prince George RCMP.  “Don’t let speed and distracted driving cause a tragedy in our community.”

School Buses and 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 and disengage 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. 

For more information about back to school related laws in British Columbia, please refer to the BC Motor Vehicle Act.

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

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.

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