Around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 7), schools across the Tri-Cities will be ringing their bells in welcoming back about 32,000 students for 2021-22.
A half-hour before that, traffic will likely be congested in drop-off zones as parents ensure their children are safely inside their new classroom — maybe even more with the COVID-19 pandemic still in play.
The rest of the day, there'll be extra eyes on the road looking for speedsters, distracted drivers and other offenders.
Coquitlam RCMP's traffic unit is scheduled to be out and about monitoring commuters' speeds in school zones as the 30 km/h limit is officially back in effect 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
The posting will be put in place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days and police are urging the public to take every precaution needed.
"Coquitlam RCMP focuses on visibility and education during back-to-school times of the year, to remind the public to help get all students to school safely by driving within speed limits and without distraction," says spokesperson Nicola Collins in a statement to the Tri-City News.
"The safety of our students and teachers is always a priority when school is back in session," adds Const. Deanna Law.
"We all have a role to play in keeping students safe in and around schools and buses."
Last year, Mounties issued a total of 92 violation tickets under B.C. traffic laws over the first two days of classes, Sept. 8-9, 2020. The breakdown is as follows:
- 29 = Speeding
- Nine = Distracted driving
- Two = Excessive speed
- Four = Occupant restraints
- Two = Child unrestrained or improperly restrained
- 46 = Other violations
According to ICBC, fines can range from $196 to $483 for anyone who speeds through a school zone.
Coquitlam RCMP has issued several tips for students and drivers when school returns on Tuesday, hoping the public can respect the shift:
Tips for Students
- Use designated crossing points and follow crossing signals where available
- Remove headphones from music players and put down the cell phone when crossing the road
- When crossing major roads, make sure that all lanes of traffic have stopped before walking across
- Often drivers in the middle lanes don’t see pedestrians
- Make eye contact with the drivers before stepping out onto crosswalks
- Dress to be seen
- Wear brighter colours or reflective material whenever possible
- Walk on the sidewalk
- If unavailable, walk on the side of the road facing the traffic
- Walk on well-lit routes with less traffic
- Always be aware of your surroundings
Tips for Drivers
- Plan ahead, leave earlier to allow yourself extra time through school zones
- Be alert to children near or around crosswalks and intersections
- If a vehicle in a different lane slows or stops in front of you, slow down or stop and ensure that no one is on the crosswalk before proceeding
- Always yield to pedestrians at intersections or designated crosswalks