Look out for children in school zones as if they were your own.

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Slow Down, Move Over – The 70/40 Rule

I was driving to Nanaimo and somewhere around Cook Creek there was a black vehicle with several flashing lights stationary at the side of the road. The road was not particularly busy and I was in the curbside lane.  As I approached, traveling at the posted 110 kph. I gradually reduced my speed, checked my mirrors and moved into the outer lane so that I was traveling at 70 kph before I drew alongside the vehicle.  As I passed this vehicle I could see police officer walking in front of the vehicle, taking photographs into the ditch.

I noted a large 4×4 truck bearing down on me from behind in an aggressive manner and clearly the man driving it was ignorant of the law and just saw me as a nuisance to his progress.  When we had passed the stopped police vehicle I resumed my speed and moved back to the other lane as he roared past me, clearly trying to make a point.  It occurred to me later that he might have tried to solve his angry situation by passing me on the inside which could have had catastrophic consequences.

I have tried in many ways to be sure that people I know are aware of this law and the reason for it, but all too many drivers seem to be unaware and therefore create even more potentially dangerous situations.  Is there any more obvious way to ensure that motorists obey this law?  A few signs posted on the highway are not enough.

If only all drivers thought ahead as they drove and were as considerate as the woman who wrote this message was in the situation. I can only add that you may wish to think of this as the 70/40 rule when you encounter a stopped official vehicle. If the speed is 80 km/h or greater, slow to 70. Otherwise, slow to 40 km/h. It really isn’t that difficult!

Reference Links:

Slow Down, Move Over articles on DriveSmartBC

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

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School’s back: ICBC and police ask drivers and parents to keep kids safe on our roads

School’s back: ICBC and police ask drivers and parents to keep kids safe on our roads

In B.C., 78 children aged five to 18 are injured in crashes in school or playground zones every year.*

With children heading back to school, the B.C. government, ICBC and police are asking drivers to watch for children, especially in or around school zones and expect more traffic on our roads. Police and Speed Watch volunteers will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones across the province.

Parents are encouraged to review the rules of the road with their children and go over their daily route to and from school.

The start of the school year is also a great time for parents to consider carpooling with another parent in their neighborhood for school drop off and pick up or allowing their child to walk or cycle to school if possible to help reduce traffic congestion and vehicle carbon emissions.

Quotes:

“We all need to do our part to keep children and students safe,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “That means expecting busier roads and giving yourself plenty of travel time so you aren’t rushing and can stay focused on the road. Use extra caution especially around school zones.”

“When parents send their kids back to school this fall, they expect them to come home safely at the end of the day,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. “It’s up to all of us as drivers, as parents, and as students to slow down, be alert and obey the rules of the road.”

“Police will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones to make sure they stick to the 30-km/h speed limit,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We want children to get a safe start to the school year so we’re asking drivers to be extra careful on our roads and watch for children.”

“The start of the school year is an exciting time for children so road safety may not be top of mind for them,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “We’re encouraging parents to talk to their children about the rules of the road and their daily route to school. Even older children need to be reminded about road safety.”

Tips for drivers:

  • Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • When you’re dropping off your children in school zones, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.

  • If a vehicle’s stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.

  • Watch for school buses. Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around your vehicle to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.

Tips for parents and kids:

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, 46 children aged five to 18 are injured in crashes in school or playground zones every year.

  • On Vancouver Island, 12 children aged five to 18 are injured in crashes in school or playground zones every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, 14 children aged five to 18 are injured in crashes in school or playground zones every year.

  • In North Central B.C., seven children aged five to 18 are injured in crashes in school or playground zones every year.

ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students from kindergarten to grade 10 learn about road safety topics unique to their grade level using fun and interactive activities.

*Annual crash and injury averages based on 2009 to 2013 data reported by ICBC. Annual fatal average based on 2009 to 2013 police-reported data.

Media contact:
Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480

 

The “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act”, or Bill 31, was approved in June & will come into effect Sept. 1

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