School zones and crossings are in effect once again, as of Tuesday morning, and motorists are asked to keep their eyes and attention on the youngsters who are traveling to and from school.
Back to school is an exciting time for kids and a busy time for parents, so Langley agencies are reminding people to slow down, avoid distractions, and think about the youngsters using the roads.
“As students and staff return to schools this fall, traffic will increase on neighbouring roadways,” said Suzanne Hoffman, Superintendent of Schools for Langley School District 35. “Student drop-off and pick-up times can be especially busy and drivers are reminded to be watchful of students in crosswalks, follow posted speed limits in school zones, and watch for school buses.”
Last year, BC Ambulance Service saw an average increase of 9% in motor vehicle crashes in school zones throughout BC in September – a number it would like to see reduced.
“As we shift into our school year routine, it is important for parents, children, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to be very aware of their surroundings,” said Paul Juszko, BC Ambulance Service Unit Chief. “As paramedics in Langley, we see preventable collisions every day – a child excited to tell their parent about their school day darts across the road without looking, or a cyclist riding with earphones doesn’t hear a car turning near them. It is important to look and listen in school zones and on our roads.”
As a first lesson of the school year, BC Ambulance Service recommends teaching your children and reminding yourself about the ABCD’s of safety:
• A: Aware of surroundings – notice school zone speed limits, passengers getting out of vehicles, children playing in the area, or pedestrians crossing the road
• B: Bicycles – be sure to follow the rules of the road, as they apply to cyclists too
• C: Caution for cars – ensure drivers see you clearly and you are watching out for them
• D: Distractions – keep them to a minimum. Stash your electronics until you arrive at your destination and keep your music low
“The start of the school year is an exciting time for children and we want to help make sure they get to and from school safely,” said Leanne Cassap, local road safety coordinator for ICBC. “We’re asking parents to review the rules of the road with their children and go over their daily route to and from school.”
Road safety can also be taught in the classroom using fun and interactive activities through free educational materials that ICBC provides to local schools. The materials are unique to each grade level from kindergarten to grade 10. Visit icbc.com/4teachers.
To ensure that drivers adhere to traffic laws during this crucial time, Langley RCMP and bylaw enforcement officers will be out in force over the next few weeks.
“The City of Langley is committed to school zone safety and bylaw officers will be monitoring school zones once classes resume on September 3,” said City of Langley Bylaw Enforcement Officer Nav Dhanoya. “Drivers are reminded not to stop in the street or in a crosswalk while dropping off or picking up their children, both of which are violations of the City of Langley Highway and Traffic Regulation Bylaw.”
“We know you are busy and have to get your children to school, but you need to get them there within the guidelines of the law,” said Township of Langley Bylaw Enforcement Officer Simon Jottey. “Laws are there for a reason – to keep you, your children, and other kids safe. If you violate those laws we will give you a ticket.”
Parents and members of the public who see infractions taking place or notice safety issues at schools are encouraged to call Township Bylaw Enforcement at 604-532-7551.
“With school resuming on Tuesday, Langley RCMP remind motorists that school zones will again be monitored and enforced,” said Cpl. David Koga of the Langley Detachment’s Youth Unit. “Drivers must be cognizant and adhere to the 30 km per hour school zones to ensure the safety of all students. Failure to comply may result in fines up to $253 for speed in a school zone, or higher for excessive speed.”