We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Students back in school, so pay attention

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, September 1st 2017

With schools reopening in the coming days, it’s incumbent on drivers to pay extra attention to school zones and their accompanying speed limits.



School is in once again starting in early September.
Statutory school days require all traffic not to exceed 30 kilometres per hour when this speed is displayed on a black-andwhite speed tab, below the traditional fivesided schoolhouse-shaped sign.

Some refer to it as a pentagon sign.

These zones are in effect from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on statutory school days, as defined by the School Act.
Municipalities are allowed to alter the times at which the school-zone signs are in effect, but must not start after 8 a.m. or end after 5 p.m. daily.
If no 30-km/h tab is attached to the school-zone sign, the normal posted speed on the road applies.

The speed zone ends where the corresponding sign is placed on the opposite side of the road, warning oncoming traffic of the presence of a school zone.
As mentioned in a previous column, the City of Nanaimo is by far the best municipality when it comes to warning drivers of exactly where the school zone ends.
It does not rely on drivers having to identify the unpainted back of a school house shaped sign, facing the other way, on the other side of the road, and unable to be read or otherwise identified by the typical driver.


Nanaimo and a very few other jurisdictions actually post an END OF ZONE tab upon which the school zone sign is attached, and as an added feature, colour the post lime green.
It is a good idea to be alert, even when there is no speed tab attached to the school warning sign.
There are many after school and community activities taking place on school property, particularly at community and sportacademy institutions.

Barbara is a teacher.

She sees all sorts of ridiculous behaviour when parents are dropping off or picking up their elementaryschool-age children.
Parents are often on their cellphones, parked illegally, cutting through the staff parking lot and getting the kids to cross the street in the middle of the block as opposed to the wellmarked legal crosswalk.
In some jurisdictions, the greatest danger of a young grade-school student being killed or seriously injured is by an inattentive, distracted adult transporting these very students.
Playground zones are in effect every day from dawn to dusk.

As with school zone signs, there must be a 30-km/h tab attached to the yellow diamond sign, with the picture of a child running after a ball, for a lower speed zone to apply.


Malcolm asked a very interesting question.
He could not find any evidence in the traffic act that differentiated between a yellow speed tab and a white one.
His question was simple. Do yellow 30-km/h speed tabs apply on playground signs? To the best of my recollection, they do not.

In fact, there was a court case that confirmed the warning aspect of such yellow speed signs, as opposed to the regulatory function, as far back as the 1980s.
(Perhaps a police-department reader of this column could clarify the situation.)
The police will no doubt be out in force during the first few weeks of the school year.

They will be there to reinforce the speed requirements in school and playground zones.

It is important that every driver recognize the mindset of young children returning to school after an extended holiday.
They want to see their friends, meet the teachers and take care of all the items that are involved in this exciting time of their life.

Safety is not always top of mind, especially with younger students.

It is up to drivers to be extra careful at this time.







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