Students back in school ─ school zone speed limits back into effect

With thousands of students heading back to school this week, Manitoba Public Insurance and CAA Manitoba are reminding motorists about the return of reduced speed limits when travelling through school zones.

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.

“This is an exciting time of year for children and parents across the province and we want to ensure everyone gets to and from school safely,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development & Communications and chief product officer, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“Parents and motorists need to remember that children are sometimes unpredictable. For drivers, the focus when behind the wheel should be solely devoted to the road.”

The return of students also brings the return of the School Safety Patrol Program. First introduced in 1936, the program now has over 200 Winnipeg schools, in addition to nearly 100 rural schools. Approximately 12,000 young patrollers participate each year, committing to at least 200 hours per school term. That includes spending up to an hour on duty every school day, helping students travel to and from school in all kinds of weather.

“CAA Manitoba is proud to be the national coordinator of the School Safety Patrol program for over 65 years with the valuable support of Manitoba Public Insurance over the past few decades,” said Mike Mager, President and CEO of CAA Manitoba. “The program instills responsibility, introduced volunteerism and leadership, and is one of the most valuable tools on our streets to help kids get to school safely every day.”

To assist with school-zone safety and heighten awareness about vehicle speeds, Manitoba Public Insurance offers to loan out speed reader boards through its School Zone 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:

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.

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.

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