School zones are back in the fold come early September. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen file)

School zones are back in the fold come early September. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen file)

September means a school zone safety reminder

Get ready to hit the brakes and be mindful of school zones. The school year is aproaching and with it comes a reminder from the RCMP and its Speed Watch program volunteers to drivers to slow down and be alert.

The RCMP Speed Watch program uses rader and electronic speed reader boads to help remind drivers of the posted speed limit and to give them the opportunity to compare the speed limit against the speed they are actually travelling. The boards serve as an education piece for each motorist and a reminder to them they have the power to help with accident prevention.

“The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop — and the more dangerous a crash can be,” said Carol-Ann Rolls, manager of Volunteer Programs and Services with Cowichan Community Policing and Crime Prevention. “At 30 kilometres per hour, it can take 18 metres to come to a full stop. At 80 km/hr, it can take 76 m to come to a full stop.”

Every year around this time the Speed Watch volunteers try to ramp up their efforts with the aim of keeping the community’s children safe.

“With the 2017/2018 school year just around the corner, school zones will soon be in effect again. Pro-active policing strategies targeting awareness and education help remind motorists to slow down before any offence is ever committed, thus helping to keep our communities safer and helping to prevent tragedy,” said a press release issued by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Const. Amron Russell.

Keep an eye out because the volunteers will be out monitoring speeds in school and playground zones, high collision locations and neighbourhood streets. The volunteers take down data on the number of vehicles and the speeds they are going and then hand that information to the RCMP for targeted enforcement initiatives.

And sometimes there’s a little more than just a noticeboard.

“RCMP officers can be deployed to issue warnings or tickets to drivers as needed,” Russell noted in the release.

Volunteers are always needed for Speed Watch and those interested in helping out will be welcomed with open arms. To learn more visit the Cowichan Community Policing and Crime Prevention office at #3-149 Canada Ave. or call 250-701-9146.

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Twitter site (@N_CowichanRCMP) provides safety tips, reminders, and locations that targeted enforcement initiatives will be in place, among other things.