While it may seem intuitive to drive carefully in school zones, this unfortunately isn’t always proven to be the case. A 2016 CAA poll indicated that nearly 50% of all Canadians say they have witnessed a distracted driver in a school zone; 64% say they have witnessed speeding in school zones; and, 30% of drivers have reported witnessing a near miss or collision in a school zone, more than half of which involved a child. Yikes.
In an effort to mitigate pedestrian harm, as of September 1st, 2018 Ontario Provincial Police have instituted higher fines and more demerit points for violations involving pedestrians. The penalty is now a fine of up to $1,000 and four demerit points. These fines are doubled in school safety zones and public areas in communities.
You can do your part to keep school zones safe by following the below school zone safety tips:
1. Know your community school crossings
Not all school crossings have designated school zone signage. A school crossing is described by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation as, “…any pedestrian crossing where a school crossing guard is present and displaying a school crossing stop sign”. Be aware of which crossings in your community are commonly used by children and students, and actively keep an eye out for the presence of students and crossing guards.