With thousands of students returning to their classrooms, Crown Services Minister Ron Schuler announced that Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will provide funding to five police agencies to conduct targeted, dedicated enforcement in school zones during September.
“Changing driver behaviour involves a three-pronged approach: education, awareness and law enforcement,” said Schuler. “These dedicated enforcement projects are highly visible and very effective. Unfortunately, too many drivers continue to drive dangerously through school zones.”
This targeted enforcement campaign will be conducted by the Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police Service, RCMP, Winkler, and Morden.
“The speed limit rules – which are designed to enhance road safety in high pedestrian areas – require motorists to slow down to the posted speed when passing through a school zone,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development and Communications and chief product officer, MPI. “School zones are clearly marked with very visual signs. Motorists are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and travel zones.”
Police agencies are committed to school zone safety and ensuring students safely travel to and from school.
“The Winnipeg Police Service would like to remind motorists that reduced school zones are back in effect,” said WPS Staff Sgt. Rob Riffel. “Our officers and photo enforcement units will be visiting school zones across the city to provide a visible presence and re-enforce good driving behavior in these zones.”
To assist with school-zone safety and heighten awareness about vehicle speeds, MPI offers to loan out speed reader boards through its SpeedWatch program. School or parent groups can borrow the equipment to raise drivers’ awareness of their speed as they pass through school zones.
Those interested can call MPI’s SpeedWatch coordinator at 204-985-8737 or 1-888-767-7640 (toll free).
To avoid a collision, drivers, parents and pedestrians are encouraged to observe the following safety tips:
- Look well ahead to spot school buses and school zone signs; reduce speed in school zones, and wait for children to cross completely before proceeding.
- Stop at least five metres behind a school bus when the upper red lights are flashing, and do not proceed until the “stop sign” is closed and the red lights stop flashing. Motorists traveling in both directions must stop for the school bus, except if the road is divided by a median.
- Scan under parked cars for the feet of children approaching traffic, and make lane changes early to allow room for children on bicycles, skateboards or roller blades.
- If you are driving your children to school, drop them off in a safe area, away from traffic; use a designated drop-off zone if the school has one.
- Cross only at intersections whenever possible, preferably at those controlled by patrols, signs or traffic control signs.
- When crossing the street, regardless of the availability of signals, cross as quickly as possible. Minimize time in the roadway.