Smooth sailing for Kelowna drivers as kids headed back to class

Kelowna drivers were, for the most part, on their best behaviour this morning as children made their way back to school.

Okanagan kids go back to school this Tuesday and new speed limits are in place at school zones. Drive responsibly and be mindful of the changes.

Kelowna drivers were, for the most part, on their best behaviour this morning as  children made their way back to school.

Mounties aided by a league of volunteers set up shop at Raymer Elementary at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and watched as 300-plus vehicles passed by, said Jesse O’Donaghey, the RCMP spokesperson.

Of them a mere 10 per cent drove above the 30 km/hour limit and only a few were travelling at a rate above 50 km/hour.

“Our volunteers were overwhelmed by how well drivers were paying attention to new speed limits,” he said, adding that everyone seemed happy to go back to school.

Since classes were let out last year, the hours for school zone speed limits changed. Now drivers will be required to maintain a maximum speed of 30 km/hr between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“RCMP in Kelowna and West Kelowna are committed to providing an education period, during the month of September, to motorists found allegedly speeding in School Zones between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.,” said O’Donaghey.

Driver’s deemed to be speeding in what would have been a 50 km/hr zone may face fines under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Zero tolerance speed enforcement during the new time frames, will start on Oct. 1

In addition to slowing down, motorists are also reminded to stop for school buses as they load and unload passengers in neighbourhoods and outside schools.

Traffic Safety Officer  Dave Gibson reminds drivers that they should never pass a school bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children with its red flashing lights are engaged and/or its “Stop” sign extended.

The area 10 feet around a School Bus is the most dangerous for children, ensure that you stop far enough back to allow them space to safely get off and onto the bus.

Lastly, Gibson pointed out that children are often unpredictable and they tend to forget hazards and perhaps take risks, so its incumbent on drivers to pay extra care and attention to the roads.