During the first week that new 30 km per hour school zones were in effect in Edmonton, the City of Edmonton’s Office of Traffic Safety recorded 401 violations in front of 21 different elementary schools.
“Although the drivers in some of the areas we monitored clearly took the new speed limits and the reasons behind them to heart, we were disappointed to see a higher number of violations overall than we were expecting,” said Gerry Shimko, Executive Director, Office of Traffic Safety. “Hopefully, those motorists will pay much closer attention to the signs in the future and come to understand that the changes were made in the interest of protecting students most at risk for injury or death.”
The school zones beside McKernan and Duggan Schools were the sites where the highest number of violations were noted. In front of York School, one vehicle was travelling at a rate of 73 km/hr and another vehicle passed a driver going the reduced speed limit. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were zero violations in the school zone by Belgravia School.
“As we indicated last week, it is the City’s plan to distribute warnings to drivers for the first 30 to 60 days so that they can become accustomed to the new speed limits,” added Shimko. “If we don’t feel that motorists are taking the school zones seriously, though, and if they are continuing to jeopardize the lives of students by ignoring the speed reductions, we may have to reconsider and begin issuing fines sooner.”
The Edmonton Police Service continues to assist in educating drivers about traffic safety outside of elementary schools.
Acting Staff Sgt. Bill Krull with EPS Traffic Section adds, “We understand that reduced school zone speed limits may be new for some drivers and they may need some time to adjust. However, motorists still need to be aware of their surroundings at all times and respect the rules of the road regardless of where they are. Slowing down in school zones is not a major adjustment to make to your driving habits.”
As of September 2, 2014, school zones came into effect around elementary schools throughout Edmonton. Motorists must slow down to 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on school days where new school zone signage is posted. The lower speed limit will improve safety around elementary schools and protect the city’s most vulnerable road users: young children.
Information about the new school zones is available by visiting edmonton.ca/why30.