'Tickets' made by Westwood students a good reminder

FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Prince George RCMP Const. Charles Witwicki displays some of the tickets made by Westwood Elementary School students.
ABOVE PHOTO: Prince George RCMP Detachment volunteers monitor the speeds of vehicles traveling through a school zone at Westwood.

Students at Westwood Elementary School gave drivers plenty of reasons to obey the speed limit.

Last school year, Alison Brown's Grade 3-4 class made “speeding tickets” to be handed out to drivers going too fast through school zones. The tickets had drawings and messages such as “Think of me and slow down.” Brown's students worked with Doug MacDonald, ICBC’s road safety and community coordinator for Northern B.C.

Earlier this week, to mark the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the Prince George RCMP and a team of its volunteers set up in one of the Westwood school zones with a speed gun and radar sign. The idea was for the student-made tickets to be handed to drivers going above the posted 30-kilometre speed limit. Drivers were paying attention to the school zone signs on this day but that’s not always the case.

“In a perfect world everyone would obey every rule,” said RCMP Const. Craig Douglass. “Certainly drivers are more distracted these days, whether it be with a device or kids in the car or whatever is going on, and that’s a concern. We want to remind drivers, ‘You’ve got to be looking for those signs and you’ve got to be slowing down in school zones.’ That’s the message.”

Douglass said the tickets made by the Westwood students were a good reminder that decisions made behind the wheel of a vehicle affect people’s lives.

“As a driver, getting that (ticket) and seeing that it actually matters to somebody, makes a difference,” he said. “Hopefully it stays with them and they keep those speeds low.”

In most cases, speed limits in school zones are in effect Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In some locations, school zone hours have been extended to reflect more intensive use of a school facility.

The minimum fine for speeding in a school zone (31 km to 50 km) is $196.