Watch above: School zone speed limits just came into effect a few days ago and already there have been hundreds of violations. But new signage might also add to the problem. Eric Szeto explains.
EDMONTON – The city’s Office of Traffic Safety recorded 401 violations in front of 21 different elementary schools during the first week that new 30 km/h school zones were in effect.
“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 of the 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 highest number of violations happened in the school zones beside Duggan and McKernan schools, which recorded 116 and 87 violations, respectively.
A vehicle travelling at a speed of 73 km/h was recorded in front of York School.
In Sherwood Park, a teenage driver was pulled over after being clocked at 100 km/h in a 30 km/h school zone.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the city says 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.”
Edmonton police will continue to educate drivers.
“We understand that reduced school zone speed limits may be new for some drivers and they may need some time to adjust,” explained Acting Staff Sgt. Bill Krull with EPS Traffic Section.
“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.”
Motorists must slow down to 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on school days where new school zone signs are posted.