Vancouver Island Schools Reopen: Authorities Slow Down Speedsters Amid Safety Concerns

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As the last vestiges of summer vacations evaporate, students throughout Vancouver Island are once again filling the corridors of their schools, starting Tuesday. The once deserted routes to schools are now clamoring with the hustle and bustle of returning students. Yet, with the reintroduction of school speed zones, not all the commuters seem to have adapted back with the same fluidity.

Const. Terri Healy from the Victoria Police Department extended an earnest appeal to the drivers, “We continue to reiterate the necessity for drivers to decelerate and remain vigilant. Be aware that the roads will now be more active, with children and staff making their way to school on foot or by bicycle.”

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The reinstatement of school speed zones also includes higher penalties for those who violate the rules. Drivers found speeding can face fines from $196 to $253, accompanied by a penalty of three demerit points on their driver’s licenses.

“Distracted driving remains a significant factor leading to accidents involving pedestrians,” elaborates Healy.

In their quest to maximize safety, the city law enforcement is also paying close attention to drivers handling phones while driving, an offense that can lead to a hefty $368 fine and a deduction of four points on their licenses.

Keira Pinchbeck, a mother whose seven-year-old daughter attends school, echoed a shared concern, “People really speed down this road. In their rush to drop their kids to school and reach work on time, even parents sometimes end up speeding.”

The safety issue was starkly evident last year in the Westhills neighbourhood of Langford. The Sooke School District had to rethink and revise the routes children took to and from school, following the frequent dismissal of crossing guards by defying drivers at a roundabout on Langford Parkway.

Recalling the past incidents, Kailey Sutherland, a crossing guard, revealed, “One of our own crossing guards was hit by a car, and we found ourselves in numerous precarious situations with children.”

Healy highlighted the alarming statistic of the region, mentioning, “Every year on Vancouver Island, approximately 52 children get injured due to collisions with drivers. Hence, the importance of slowing down, employing caution, and remembering that the faster one drives, the longer it takes to stop.”

Given the high stakes, the Victoria Police Department declares an increased deployment of officers vigilantly monitoring school zones each morning across the capital region for the upcoming three weeks.