September 8, 2016
Watch Out, Kids Crossing! Tips for Following New School Zone Rules
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation posts five-sided school zone signs with a fluorescent yellow/green background near designated crossing areas. The signs depict black symbols of a male and female walking. When drivers see such a sign, they are required to slow the vehicle, drive with extra caution, and watch for children. In Ontario, the speed limit in a school zone is lower during school hours. The law requires a lower speed limit be observed when yellow lights over or near a crosswalk are flashing. Anywhere a school bus is picking up or dropping off students, you will encounter school bus stop signs. This sign on the side of the bus has flashing lights and signals drivers to stop on both sides of the road so the passengers may safely cross a busy street.
THE NEW LAW
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, as of January 1, 2016 drivers (including cyclists) are required to stop and yield the entire roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings, and other locations where there is a crossing guard. Both sides of traffic are required to yield. Drivers and cyclists can proceed when pedestrians and school crossing guards have made it safely onto the sidewalk across the street.
Drivers will be fined between $150-$500 and be issued three demerit points for violating these rules. As before, the maximum fine for running a red light (a practice that also puts pedestrians at risk) is $200-$1000.
REMINDER TO PARENTS
It is also important for parents and educators to teach children how to cross a road safely. Kids should stay away from the edge of the road, avoiding traffic until the road is clear and it is safe to cross, and never cross on a red light. Young people and pedestrians must always stop and look both ways before stepping into the road. Remember to be extra cautious on roads that have no curbs and watch out for blind corners.
Drivers have a huge responsibility to ensure the safety of children and other people walking near busy streets. To avoid doing so can lead to huge penalties, and, in the worst scenario, cause injury or death. Avoid that costly liability by looking out for school zones and small children. Both drivers and walkers should be patient — no matter how big of a hurry you’re in, you won’t reach your destination if you’re in the hospital or jail.
Should you be the cause of an accident or the injured party, our legal professionals at Linka Law are well-versed in personal injury and available to assist you with any case. Call or email us and schedule a consultation.