With back-to-school season in full swing, RCMP are reminding drivers to slow down and watch out for school zones.
Cpl. Ted Manchulenko of the Penticton RCMP said the back-to-school season has people in a hurry and that can be the biggest problem.
“I think everybody needs a reminder this time of year,” Manchulenko said. “It’s a hectic time for everybody, for the parents and for the kids, and time is sort of a crunch for everybody.”
The fines for speeding in a school zone range from $196 to $235, but police and bylaw officers are also watching loading and drop-off zones, which they are reminding parents are not for parking.
“It’s just a matter of a lot of congestion and everybody trying to get to the same place and get away from the same place at the same time. If everyone pays attention, slows down and calms down I think it will all work out,” Manchulenko said.
RCMP officers will be stepping up patrols with bylaw officers and regular traffic officers, in both marked and unmarked vehicles, positioned around school zones. There is no wiggle room when it comes to school zone speed limits either.
“As far as we’re concerned here relating to school zones, there’s no cushion. If you’re over, you’re going to get a ticket. There’s no ifs, ands or buts on this stuff,” Manchulenko said. “If you’re over the speed in those zones, you can expect some enforcement action.”
Taking some extra time in the morning to arrive early, or parking down the block and letting students walk a few blocks will all help alleviate the stress of many people arriving at school at the same time.
“Just leave yourself a little bit of time. We realize it’s hectic, but if you leave yourself a bit of time, everybody slows down and everybody gets to where they’re going at the same time, and in a safer fashion,” Manchulenko said.
All drivers, not just parents, need to be on the look out for young children this time of year as well.
“It’s up to the driver to pay attention to the kids because they are excited and not really paying attention all the time. Be aware of the fact that they are not paying attention so give a little extra caution on the side of the driver,” Manchulenko said.
Manchulenko said efforts are also going to be stepped up in playground zones, most of which are around schools as well. While most school zone times end around 5 p.m., playground zone hours extend until dusk.