BY STAFF-SGT. JOHN BERRY
QUESTION: I have had discussions with a number of people regarding the new school zone laws and the meaning of "when children are present."
Some people say this means from September to June, except for weekends and after school hours. Others say after-hours activities mean the speed limit applies 24 hours a day. And still others say that it is only when school is starting and letting out.
Some drivers are slowing down to 50 km/h at 10 p.m. and others are doing 80 km/h at 1 p.m.
Can you please clarify?
ANSWER: As of Sept. 1, 2012 there were changes to the Motor Vehicle Act related to the speed limits in school zones.
The limit has changed to 30 km/h in school zones where the regular speed limit is 50 km/h. Speed limits will remain at 50 km/h in school zones where the regular speed limit is higher than 50 km/h.
What makes the reduced school zone speed limits come into effect is the presence of a child. Section 103 of the Motor Vehicle Act states that motorists are required to reduce speed in school zones when a child is present. A child is deemed to be present in a school area if they are outdoors and either on a highway in the school zone or on any land within 30 meters (approximately 100 feet) of the centerline of any highway in the school zone.
The speed limits in school zones will be enforced 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Schools typically are used for much more than educational centers from Monday to Friday. Sporting events, concerts, Scouts and Guides are examples of activities that happen during evenings or on weekends when children could be present.
School zones exist to indicate the presence of schools on public roads and for motorists be extra vigilant. It is important to remember that children often become distracted and may forget to watch for vehicles. By slowing down, motorists will have more time to react to unexpected incidents.
Parents are also reminded to talk to their children about road safety and make sure they understand the rules of the road. Working together everyone can help keep children safe.
For more information please visit the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal web site at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/tran/roadsafety/schoolzonesafetyq&a.asp
QUESTION: I hear a lot about drivers getting caught for stunting. What is it and how much is the fine?
ANSWER: In recent years, movies such as ‘Fast and the Furious' have sensationalized aggressive driving on public highways. In reality, stunting or racing on public highways creates dangerous situations that have resulted in serious injury and/or death.
Section 163 of the Motor Vehicle Act makes it illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle on a highway while in a race or performing a stunt. Under the regulations the definition of a stunt has a number of meanings including: driving 50 km/h or more above the speed limit, attempting to lift vehicle's tires from the surface of the highway, attempting to spin a vehicle without maintaining control of the vehicle, driving on the portion of the highway designated for oncoming traffic for longer than necessary to legally overtake vehicles, driving from a position in a vehicle other than the designated driver's seat, or driving without due care or attention or in a manner that may endanger other persons.
Any driver stopped for stunting or racing could be subject to arrest under the Motor Vehicle Act or the Criminal Code. If charged, the offender's driver's license will be seized and they will receive an automatic seven day suspension from driving. The vehicle will be seized and impounded at the registered owner's expense and if convicted the driver will face a fine of $2,412.41 for the first offense.
The RCMP take the matter of stunting very seriously and view these types of actions as one of the most dangerous forms of aggressive driving.
Remember that driving is a privilege, not a right.
Staff-Sgt. John Berry is the District Commander for the Colchester RCMP. ‘Ask the RCMP' appears monthly in the Truro Daily News. If you have a question related to policing in your community, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail you question to Ask the RCMP, PO Box 1585, Bible Hill, N.S., B2N 5V3.