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Olds RCMP issues school zone safety tips

It's time to be extra alert, especially in school zones, as school begins again
MVT School bus zone
As it stops, a school bus will activate its alternating red lights and a stop sign will be extended from the driver’s side of the bus. File photo

OLDS — Now that school is back in session, motorists need to be especially careful, especially in school zones, Olds RCMP say.

Remember: the speed limit in a school zone is 30 kilometres an hour so drive at – or below – that speed in those areas.

Drivers will see lots of school buses on the roads during the school year, especially near schools. Here are some rules to remember.

When drivers approach a school bus from the front or the rear and it has the alternating amber lights flashing, drivers must get ready to stop. 

Those amber lights are a warning that the school bus will be stopping shortly to allow students to get on or off the bus. 

As it stops, the bus will activate its alternating red lights and a stop sign will be extended from the driver’s side of the school bus. 

When that happens, drivers must come to a full stop approximately 20 metres (about three to four car lengths) away from the school bus. 

This distance allows drivers of other vehicles behind to see the flashing lights and provides room for students to safely cross the roadway.

Drivers must remain stopped until the alternating flashing red lights are turned off and the stop sign on the driver's side is no longer extended. 

Failure to stop for a school bus with red flashing lights could result in a $567 fine. 

Now that school is back in session, crosswalks will be busy with students walking to school or riding their bikes. As a result, drivers need to use extra caution when approaching crosswalks and give pedestrians the right-of-way. 

The fine for failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk can be as high as $810. 

“Students are going to be excited to begin or end their school day and may not always check for vehicles prior to crossing streets when entering or exiting school buses,” Olds RCMP Cst. Morley Statchuk said in a news release.

“Safety is a priority for all of us and the Olds RCMP are asking for your attention to this important safety message.”