Drivers in the city are being reminded to stay alert and slow down while in school zones. Local Peace Officers and members of the Grande Prairie Storm hockey team were out at Riverstone School Tuesday morning to take part in the Alberta Motor Association’s School Safety Patrol Program.
The event has been held on the first day of school for a number of years now and Program Coordinator Shelley Biendarra says they have never experienced an injury or death since the program has been in place.
“This is our 81st year of no fatalities or serious injuries at patrolled crosswalks so the patrollers are doing an amazing job keeping young kids safe.”
More than 16,500 patrollers are positioned at crosswalks around schools all over the province. Alberta Office of Traffic Safety consultant Donna Tona says that while patrollers are there to ensure student’s safety, most of the responsibility falls on drivers to make sure they are paying attention.
“I think it’s incumbent upon motorists to really be patient and really be aware because for young kids it’s their first day of school. We’ve had a lot of little ones at this school that don’t know where they’re going and they’re excited or they’re scared. It’s up to us as motorists to take a good look and be patient.”
Tona says it’s also important for parents to teach their children who may be going to school for the first time, the right way to walk across the street using the pause, point and proceed method.
“Teach them to pause at the corner and look both ways, to point across the intersection and keep their hand out with their finger out, look at the vehicles that are stopped and then proceed.”
Starting September 4, school zones will be a maximum of 30 kilometres from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.