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Drivers urged to slow down in Comox Valley school zones

We’re seeing a spike in speeders in Comox Valley school zones.

Comox Valley Schools and the local RCMP say since school started up last month, there has been a jump in driving violations in school zones and around school buses.

Drivers are being reminded to watch for the bright yellow signage that tells them schools and school playgrounds are near.

“Autumn tends to be a critical time for us to remind motorists again to use extra caution and to abide by the posted speed limits,” said superintendent of schools, Tom Demeo. 

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“We can’t stress this enough. Safe driving in school zones and near buses is important to avoid accidents, personal injuries and to protect all pedestrians.”

To increase awareness, the District called upon G.P. Vanier Theatre students to create a video message about safe driving in school zones and to explain the safe driving regulations near school buses.

The speed limit in a school zone, unless otherwise posted, is 30 km/h between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday throughout the school year from September to the end of June. 

The speed limit near a playground is 30 km/h from dawn to dusk every day of the year.

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District school buses follow something called the Baltimore System. 

Wherever possible, the bus will pull completely off the road onto the shoulder to pick up or discharge students. 

In this case, red flashing lights are not used. 

Where it is not possible to pull onto a shoulder, the bus will stop on the roadway, using red flashing lights. 

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Drivers must come to a stop on either side of the road until the flashing lights are turned off.

The RCMP and the district also encourage parents and families to teach children to follow a safe route to and from school. 

They say dress children in bright colours to be noticeable, especially in the evening and when in bad weather. 

Tell them to always use a marked crosswalk and look both ways before crossing. 

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Most importantly, students are reminded to focus. Put away electronics and other distractions and keep eyes on vehicles and drivers before stepping out onto the street.

“The beginning of the school years is always a busy time in and around schools, so educating children about safety procedures should also include a review of the rules of the road,” said Comox Valley RCMP Const. Monika Terragni. 

“Teach your children about road safety including school bus safety. We all have a role to play in protecting children in and around schools and buses.”

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