School’s in; drivers urged to use extreme caution

The return of children to schools throughout the Smoky River region next week carries with it a vivid reminder from McLennan RCMP.
“We’re forewarning motorists to pay very close attention to reduced speed limits in playground and school zones,” says Const. M.C. Verreault of the local detachment.
Speeding through playground and schools zones is not an issue which RCMP members take lightly. Const. Verreault says they fully recognize the severity of the problem and are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of children.
“All of our members will be extremely vigilant in stepping up patrols in these areas beginning Sept. 3 and continuing right on through the school year.”
RCMP members will once again be focusing their efforts on “zero tolerance” enforcement strategies in playground and school zones this year in the communities of Donnelly, McLennan and Falher.
Const. Verreault says the bottom line for motorists to consider is that speeding through these areas is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the safety and well-being of our children is a community effort. Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle must share in that responsibility,” she explained.
Const. Verreault says that while the majority of motorists are fully cognizant of the critical need to pay attention and reduce their rate of speed at this time of the year there is an inattentive breed of bad apples out there which continues to place the lives of innocent children at risk.
“One of the most common excuses we hear from motorists who are stopped by RCMP for playground and school zone infractions is that they didn’t see the signs,” Const. Verreault adds. “These signs are bright yellow and extremely visible. It’s just a matter of people paying attention to their surroundings at all times.”
School zones are in effect between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. During these specified hours, motorists are not to exceed the posted speed limit maximum of 30 km/hr.
Those same times apply to rural areas. The only difference is that motorists are permitted to drive 40 km/hr.
Playground zone speed limits, meanwhile, are also set at 30 km/hr, except in rural areas such as the M.D. of Smoky River where they are 40 km/hr. The posted speed limits are in effect seven days a week from dawn to dusk, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until one hour after sunset.
Const. Verreault says it’s important to point out that fines levied against offenders under the Highway Traffic Act can be costly.
“A motorist traveling 20 kilometers per hour above the posted speed limit can be fined $98. If you’re doing 60 km/hr it’s a $140 fine,” she said.

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