Over 332 tickets handed out in Calgary playground zones during back to school week

FILE: A school zone sign in Calgary, Alberta.
FILE: A school zone sign in Calgary, Alberta. Dani Lantela/Global News

Calgary police are releasing details about their first week of back to school enforcement, including 332 tickets issued in playground zones.

Those infractions were mostly for speeding but also included things like passing, being distracted and making illegal u-turns.

“I’ve always called first day back to school ‘national parents and kids lose your minds day’ because it seems like they’re so out of the routine and quite flustered,” Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey with the Calgary police said.

The top speeder clocked in at 64 kilometres an hour (resulting in a $285 ticket) and police said the most common excuse by drivers was that they didn’t know they were in a playground zone.

If you think that might get you out of a ticket, think again.

Playground zones are now restricted year-round after the City of Calgary turned all school zones into playground zones over a year ago.

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“This year alone we’ve been really focusing on playground zones for the entire year. In fact, our enforcement is up another 55 per cent over and above what it was last year just in playground zones,” Stacey said.

Police said four of the drivers ticketed were school bus drivers, and one was even a teacher.

READ MORE: Calgary school bus driver ticketed for going 52 km/h through a school zone

 “I wasn’t really surprised that there were school buses, only because last year when I did this campaign we got school buses then too. I think a lot of it has to do with school bus companies [hiring] new drivers and I know that they implore them to really watch the playgrounds zones, but even school bus drivers aren’t always infallible,” Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey with the Calgary police said.

“The teachers, on the other hand, you would think they would pay a little bit of extra caution – especially because they’re going to their schools and they know exactly where the playground zones are.”

The 332 ticket count includes tickets from traffic officers alone. It does not include tickets that were also handed out through photo enforcement or front line officers from other districts.

“So you can tack on a few more tickets than that,” Stacey said.

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The good news is there were no pedestrian collisions reported in playground zones in the first week back to school.