Drive Safe and Smart as Students Return to the Classrooms

Iron Range School Bus

Increased Traffic and Student Commutes: Road Safety Takes Center Stage

As the back-to-school season kicks off, drivers can expect a surge in traffic, the presence of school buses, and the sight of children commuting during rush hours. With students returning to the classroom, some as early as this week, and with many students excited about the start of the new academic year, it is important to underline the vital responsibility for drivers.

Crucial Safety Reminders for All Motorists

During this critical time, the OPP is urging motorists to adhere to the following safety guidelines:

1. Respect Speed Limits and Exercise Vigilance

Motorists are reminded to obey speed limits at all times, with special emphasis on school and playground zones. Staying alert and vigilant in these areas is paramount to ensuring student safety.

2. Avoid Distractions, Especially Cell Phones

Drivers should refrain from using cell phones and any other distractions while operating a vehicle. Distraction-free driving is crucial for the safety of students.

3. Stop for School Buses – The Consequences of Ignoring

When a school bus activates its alternating red lights, traffic in both directions must come to a complete stop and refrain from passing. Disregarding this law can lead to serious Criminal Code charges. For a first offence, drivers can face fines ranging from $400 to $2000, along with six demerit points. Subsequent violations can result in fines of $1000 to $4000, six demerit points, and potential jail time of up to six months.

4. Pedestrian Safety – Stop and Make Eye Contact

When pedestrians are crossing the street, drivers must come to a full stop and avoid blocking crosswalks. It’s essential to make eye contact with pedestrians and ensure they have safely crossed the road before proceeding.

5. Respect Crossing Guards – Their Role in Child Safety

Motorists are urged to follow the directions provided by crossing guards diligently. These dedicated individuals play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of children.

6. Be Cautious and Aware of Child Pedestrians

Always keep a watchful eye for children, particularly during school operating hours. Kids can be easily distracted and may not fully grasp the rules of the road.

7. Safe Unloading of Child Passengers

When unloading child passengers, drivers should do so away from traffic and congestion or in designated drop-off areas. Ensuring a safe drop-off is essential for a smooth start to the school day.

By adhering to these safety guidelines and practicing responsible driving behaviour in school zones, each of us can contribute to reducing roadway risks this September. Remember, failure to obey these rules may not only result in fines but also carry the weight of Criminal Code charges for reckless drivers. Road safety is a collective responsibility that demands our utmost attention during this busy season.

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