Manitoba Public Insurance and police partner in enhanced school zone safety project

Manitoba Public Insurance will once again provide funding to police agencies to conduct enhanced speed enforcement in school zones during the month of September, the Crown insurer announced today.

“Combining enhanced public awareness about school zone safety with the high visibility of police enforcement serves as a reminder to all motorists to slow down and drive with caution in school zones,” said Cliff Cullen, Minister of Crown Services. “The ultimate goal of these road safety partnerships is to enhance safety for students as they start another school year and travel back and forth to school daily.”

Manitoba Public Insurance is partnering with seven police agencies on this initiative including the RCMP and police services in Winnipeg, Brandon, Winkler, Morden, Ste. Anne and Altona. Last year a total of 108 school locations were monitored with 780 Highway Traffic Act offences issued. Over the last four years (2013-2016), a total of 2,400 speeding offence notices have been issued.

“We are committed to working with our road safety partners to reduce collisions, deaths and injuries on our roadways,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development and Communications and Chief Administrative Officer, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“The month of September is particularly important as thousands of students return to school after summer vacation; meaning more pedestrians and cyclists, particularly school zones. By combining public awareness with enhanced police enforcement, along with our support for the school patrol program, our goal is to remind motorists of the need to slow down in designated school zones and to encourage students to walk and cycle with caution to stay safe.”

A pedestrian’s odds of surviving a collision with a vehicle greatly improve as the vehicle’s speed is reduced. Studies show the chance of survival is about 75 per cent when the vehicle is travelling at a speed of 40 km/h; compared to only 15 per cent at 60 km/h.

SpeedWatch program

To assist with school zone safety and heighten awareness about vehicle speeds, Manitoba Public Insurance offers speed reader boards to community organizations and school parent advisory groups 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 Manitoba Public Insurance’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:

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 and Children:

  • 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, 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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