Manitoba Public Insurance and police focus on school zone safety: enhanced enforcement in September

Manitoba Public Insurance is once again partnering with law enforcement agencies throughout the province to fund enhanced enforcement activities in and around schools over the month of September.

Now in its eighth year, MPI provides funding to assist three police agencies in enhancing their patrols around schools in the mornings and afternoons when pedestrian activity and traffic volumes are heaviest. Participating agencies this year are the RCMP, Winnipeg and Brandon police services.

Drivers are reminded to educate themselves when school zone speed limits are in effect within their respective communities. Enhanced enforcement can take place before, during or after classes in the designated school zone.

“It’s important that drivers observe the speed limits and slow down,” said Satvir Jatana, Vice President, Employee and Community Engagement, Manitoba Public Insurance. “Reducing the vehicle’s speed could save a life. Slowing down allows the driver to react quicker and reduces braking distance.

“Whether it’s pedestrian traffic or parents dropping off their children, school zones can be very busy. Slowing down can make everyone safer.”

600 speeding offences

During the campaign last year, nearly 600 speeding offense notices were handed out during this annual school safety initiative. Over the last five years, more than 5,000 provincial offence notices for various infractions, ranging from speeding to use of a hand-held electronic while driving, failure to stop at pedestrian crosswalks and other traffic control devices, have been issued to drivers.

Last year, participating police agencies monitored more than a hundred different school locations in both urban and rural communities. Photo radar speed enforcement in school zones is not a part of this partnership initiative.

Important back-to-school safety tips

For drivers:

  • 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 travelling 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.

For parents:

  • 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.
  • Talk to your children about traffic safety and the importance staying alert to the traffic around them. This includes staying off cell phones and other electronic devices and being smart pedestrians.

For children:

  • Cross only at intersections whenever possible, preferably at those controlled by patrols, signs or traffic control signs.
  • When crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers to be sure you are seen and cross as quickly as possible to minimize time in the roadway.
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