File photo Police will be out in force next week, watching for school-zone speeders.

School’s back: slow down or pay the price, say police

Enforcement of 30 km/h limit to be a focus in White Rock next week

White Rock RCMP is reminding drivers to get back in the ‘zone’ – school zone, that is – and remember to slow down while passing through school and park zones.

School is back in session on Tuesday (Sept. 3), and those who don’t heed the limits can expect to be ticketed – a minimum $196 fine, plus three points – says Const. Chantal Sears.

In a news release issued Wednesday, Sears said officers and volunteers will be at both White Rock and Peace Arch elementaries next week, issuing tickets to motorist exceeding 30 km/h. The limit is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. school days; in park zones, it’s in effect from dawn to dusk every day.

“There is no excuse for speeding in a school zone and we have zero tolerance,” Sears said in the release.

“Our goal is to keep children and families safe. What most people don’t realize is the stopping distance at 30km/h is 18 metres or 60 feet before you can come to a full stop.

“You will not get a second chance if a child runs in front of your vehicle.”

It remains to be seen if this year’s enforcement effort will prove that drivers are taking better care on the road.

Last year, police in the seaside city issued 147 tickets over the course of a four-day back-to-school enforcement initiative. Seventy-eight of those tickets were for speeding.

READ MORE: White Rock police ticket 147 drivers in school zones

Sears said additional officers will be deployed throughout the week, and that their presence – in bright yellow jackets – will be difficult for drivers to miss.

“We’re going to be completely overt,” she said.

In Surrey, back-to-school efforts for police will include school-zone patrols and participating in the ‘Think of Me’ distracted driving campaign. Launched last year, the partnership sees officers hand out cards designed by elementary students to drivers, to remind them to think of kids when driving in and around school zones.

Cpl. Elenore Sturko noted the return to school doesn’t just mean increased traffic in those zones, as for many people, it’s also a return to their work routines.

“Everywhere in Surrey, we can expect to see more traffic,” Sturko said.

According to ICBC, every year in the Lower Mainland, 300 children aged five to 18 years old are injured in crashes while walking or cycling.

Sears encouraged drivers who do not need to get to a school to choose an alternate route, as school zones are heavily congested during drop-off and pick-up hours.

She suggested parents check out the parking situation ahead of time, and that they teach their kids where the crosswalks are and how to use them.

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