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Drivers reminded to slow down ahead as school starts: ICBC

School begins on Sept. 7 in B.C.
Back to school crosswalk
School kids crossing the street

With school starting on Tuesday, motorists are reminded to slow down and be aware of children, especially in school zones.

According to ICBC data, 370 children, between the ages five and 18, are injured and five are killed in crashes while walking or cycling every year in B.C.

Last year, 6,940 drivers were ticketed for speeding in school and playground zones.

Parents are encouraged to review safety tips with their children and to go over their daily route to and from school with them. Children should also remember to put away electronic gadgets like earbuds while walking or cycling so they can hear cars approaching or wearing bright clothe or reflective gear during the night or poor weather.

Meanwhile, local police and Speed Watch volunteers will be monitoring drivers' speeds in school zones to help children have a safe start to the school year.

The Ipsos Reid survey, conducted for ICBC in May, found that while 93 per cent of drivers believe texting while driving is risky, 40 per cent admitted they still use their phones at least one out of every 10 trips.

This month, police across the province are ramping up enforcement of distracted driving, and community volunteers will be setting up “Cell Watch” stations to remind drivers to leave their phones alone.

ICBC’s tips for drivers:

  • Every school day, 30km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as 30km/h speed limit in playground zones from dawn to dusk.
  • Leave your phone alone and watch for children walking or cycling.
  • Drop off your child in a school zone and have them exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk.
  • Proceed with caution and prepare to stop if you see a vehicle stopped in front or in the lane next to you in case a pedestrian is there.
  • Watch for school buses. When their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
  • Walk around your vehicle to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.
  • Slow down and watch for children in residential areas.