As students return to school, the Ladysmith RCMP and SpeedWatch volunteers will be out in full force to remind drivers to slow down in school zones.
Const. Brigitte Goguen, one of several RCMP officers from the Ladysmith detachment who will be monitoring motorists in the coming weeks, offered to review the rules of the road for Chronicle readers.
Goguen stressed the importance of slowing down near schools and playgrounds, reminding motorists that speed limits of 30 kilometres per hour apply from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. in school zones and from “dusk to dawn all year round” near playgrounds.
When passing through residential neighbourhoods, Goguen encouraged motorists to “watch for the unexpected.”
“Look out for small children walking on sidewalks and curbing, and be cautious while approaching intersections,” Goguen added. “Small children do not quickly recognize the danger of a moving car like a teen or an adult would.”
As a precaution, Goguen advised motorists to think twice before passing vehicles stopped in the street, as they may be waiting for children to cross the road.
Cellphones and handheld devices are dangerous distractions that Goguen suggested drivers keep out of reach while they’re on the road.
“Operating, holding, communicating or just looking at the screen of a handheld device is illegal when driving, and doing so carries a fine of $167,” Goguen added.
While on the subject of fines, Goguen reminded motorists that excessive speeding in school zones will be met with punishing penalties. For example, a driver clocked at 71 kilometres per hour in a 30 kilometre-per-hour zone will be fined $368 while having their vehicle impounded for seven days.
To further drive home the importance of observing posted speed limits, Goguen shared the following survival statistics for collisions involving children:
“The chances of a pedestrian child surviving being hit by a car going 30 kilometres per hour is 90 per cent; if that same car is driving 50 kilometres per hour, that chance of survival drops to 10 per cent.”
“It is imperative that drivers adjust their driving behaviour now that school is in — back to school means back to slow,” Goguen stated.