August 28, 2014 1:43 pm
Updated: August 28, 2014 8:23 pm

New school zone speed limit could save lives: Edmonton Traffic Safety

Watch above: When students head back to class on Tuesday, drivers will be required to slow down around elementary schools. Kendra Slugoski explains the difference 20km/h can make.

EDMONTON – It’s back-to-school for most Edmonton students next week, and with it will come a significant change outside elementary schools for drivers.

The new school zone speed limit of 30 km/h will take effect around Edmonton’s elementary schools on Tuesday, and the city is reminding motorists to be aware of the bylaw.

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Traffic Safety Supervisor Dennis Tetreault says the lowered speed limit could save lives.

“We know that braking distances for a car at 30 kilometres are 12 metres versus 50 kilometres are 28 metres. Basically, you’re cutting your braking distance in half,” he explains.

According to Tetreault, the survival rate for pedestrians who are hit by a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h is about 45 per cent. That number jumps up to 95 per cent when a vehicle is travelling at 30 km/h.

“Then it’s all about inertia, so the faster a car is travelling the more damage it can cause to a pedestrian.”

Watch: ‘Why 30′ school zone video

Councillor Dave Loken says the city’s growing population and added distractions for drivers have made it necessary for the reduced speed limit.

“People are so busy and people aren’t paying attention like they used to. We’re busy rushing from one point to another.”

Student Nicholas Kolber agrees with the councillor. He’s witnessed the dangerous habits of drivers as a school patroller.

“You’re holding out your hand for the point, just to kind of let the drivers know that you’re trying to cross, and they’ll speed right through your hand. They won’t even pay any attention or anything,” says Nicholas.

Read More: 30 km/h school zones coming to Edmonton

Councillor Bev Esslinger hopes the reduced speed limit will encourage more parents to allow their children to walk to school.

“‘When you ask parents ‘why don’t your children walk to school?’ They don’t feel safe,” says Esslinger.

The city has left the door open for potentially reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h around all schools.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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