Langley RCMP Cpl. Glen Shippit and his laser speed meter will be looking for drivers going too fast in school zones when classes resume. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: A ‘friendly reminder’ from police about speeding in school zones

Don’t. Drivers who ignore the warning will pay a high price

Drivers who ignore a warning about speeding in school zones when classes resume face a potentially expensive encounter with police.

With students about to return to classes after Labour Day, Langley RCMP Traffic Section Sgt. Matthew LaBelle issued what he called a “friendly reminder” about respecting the speed limits around schools.

“Sadly, we have to do that, remind people,” Labelle told the Langley Advance Times.

Penalties start at $196 speeding tickets, rise to $368 tickets and up for excessive speeding, and, potentially, the seizure of the offending driver’s car or truck.

“Someone invariably gets their vehicle impounded,” LaBelle observed.

“The speed limit is not just there to jam up drivers,” he added

“There’s science behind it.”

An average car traveling 60 km/h will need 55 metres to stop, while a car doing 30 will stop in 18 metres.

“That difference could save a life.”

Pedestrians are also far more likely to survive a low-speed collision.

LaBelle said officers will be looking for speeders in school zones throughout September.

A reminder is required in part because the speed limits do not apply when school is out.

In Alberta, the City of Calgary changed all school zones to playground zones, effectively making the speed limits apply all the time, even when schools were closed.

After school zones were amalgamated with playground zones in 2016, all zones have a 30 km/h speed limit that applies from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

LaBelle who was working in the Red Deer RCMP detachment when the Calgary changes were made, said they appeared to be effective.

“From what I understand, it made a difference,” LaBelle responded when asked about the Alberta experiment.

A follow-up City of Calgary study showed collisions involving pedestrians fell 33 per cent following the change to a single, year-round speed zone and the overall collision rate dropped roughly three-quarters.

READ MORE: Too many speeders racing through Langley school zones

A survey by BCAA shows parents can be the worst offenders in school zones, with 80 per cent of parents reporting they had witnessed speeding, 73 per cent seeing drivers failing to stop in crosswalks, and 56 per cent observing at least one near-miss involving a child and a car.

Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement, called the results “discouraging.”

“We’re seeing the same driving problems every year – parents are rushing and it’s putting kids in danger,” Pettipas said.

“We’re asking parents to think about the impact of their behaviour on others. We really hope the message is heard this year.”

BCAA.com has a number of tips for parents.

1 Build in time to prevent rushing. We understand the pressure parents can feel when it comes to dropping off and picking up their children. Anticipate school zone congestion and give yourself extra time to get through it safely.

2 Expect the unexpected. Look out for safety risks such as kids darting from cars, along with kids who are cycling and other pedestrians.

3 Follow school zone rules. Respect your school’s drop off and pick up procedures, along with traffic rules such as driving within the speed limit, stopping at marked cross walks and not driving distracted.

4 Reduce congestion. Consider walking, cycling with your child or parking a few blocks away and walking your child the rest of the way to school.

5 Focus on what you can control. No matter what’s going on around you, be patient and courteous. Reacting with extreme frustration may aggravate the situation and increase the risk of unsafe behaviours.

READ MORE: Driver fined $2,000 for speeding through school zones in rental car

READ MORE: B.C. driver clocked going 102 km/h in 30 km/h school zone

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Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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