What Does It Cost to Slow Down in a School Zone?

School Crossing GuardIt's tough to write a fresh article on some traffic safety topics. Urging drivers to watch for children and slow down in school zones at the start of each school year is one example of this. Everyone should know this along with the fact that traffic police will be active in school zones issuing expensive tickets for those who don't slow to 30 on a regular school day.

So, let's take a different look at the situation. Just how much does it cost a driver if they do slow down properly for a school zone?

School zones are most often 50 km/h zones when drivers are not required to slow down. This is a speed of about 13.9 meters per second. My calculator also shows that the 30 km/h school zone speed is about 8.3 m/s.

Now let's consider a school zone about 400 meters in length. This distance might even be a bit long for most zones, but it takes about 29 seconds to drive this distance at 50 km/h. Slow down to 30 km/h and it takes about 48 seconds, or only 19 seconds longer.

19 seconds is trivial and I'll dare to say that all drivers can spare 19 seconds out of their day to contribute to school zone safety. Add the fact that a collision with a pedestrian when driving 30 km/h is significantly more survivable than one at 50 km/h and you don't have any logical way of justifying your failure to obey the speed limit in these situations!

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Bit of a stretch

Assuming that most people drive at 50 Kph on any road is a stretch, even when the weather plays a factor.

I'm all for school zone speed limits but sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for the zone. For instance, in Penticton there are 2 schools on Green avenue between South Main St and Skaha Lake Rd, so most of that stetch is a school zone. Last year, someone, in their infinate wisdom, decided that the school zone should surround the intersection at Green and Main. South Main St is not a major thoroughfare, granted, but it is well used and the schools are a fair distance away and can't even be seen, leaving a driver new to the area scratching their head.

If the idea is to protect children using the intersection then the school zone should be extended to also include the intersection at Green and Skaha Lake Rd., because more kids cross that intersection to catch a bus when school lets out or go to Walmart during lunch. Skaha Lake Rd. is a major thoroughfare, however, and I have seen drivers breeze through the intersection at 100 trying to catch the yellow light.

Submitted by E-mail

You made an excellent case for drivers who speed in school zones - for them to know it's only a 19 second travelling time difference and with less damaging collisions to go 30 km/h instead of 50. I'm sure that will slow down many impatient or unthinking people.

For me, what finally slowed me down in school zones was something my Mom said. I was complaining to her about the careless kids who run out on the street.

My Mom said, "The kids aren't careless, they're carefree." I always think of that and I slow down!

School to Playground zones

I love what Calgary Alberta has done as of August 2015, taken all the confusion out of what days start a school year & end a school year. Now they have changed ALL school zones to playground zones that are in effect 365 days a year and from 7:30am to 9pm, you don't even have to think is this a weekend or school day,,,, How Awesome is this move, I think this should be adopted everywhere:-)

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