By Tim Schewe
A visitor to this website remarked that the term “school days” in relation to school zone signs is becoming more and more ambiguous. The Motor Vehicle Act merely refers to “A person driving a vehicle on a regular school day” and I no longer know what a regular school day is, particularly since I don’t have kids in school and when I am in an unfamiliar area of the province.
For example, some school districts take a two week spring break, others only one, some schools are going with shorter summer vacations and what about Pro D days? Some private schools have different schedules. It used to be much more uniform date-wise.
Perhaps a change to school zone signs to display flashing lights on school days and reading 30 km/hr when lights flashing. These could be programmable so human error in forgetting to turn on the sign could be reduced.
Schools and playgrounds
147 (1) A person driving a vehicle on a regular school day and on a highway where signs are displayed stating a speed limit of 30 km/h, or on which the numerals “30” are prominently shown, must drive at a rate of speed not exceeding 30 km/h while approaching or passing the school building and school grounds to which the signs relate, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or subject to subsection
(1.1), between any extended times that are stated on the signs. (1.1) Extended times under subsection (1) may not begin later than 8 a.m. or end earlier than 5 p.m.
The courts have decided that a regular school day is any day that the school calendar says that school is in session. This includes Pro D days. That used to be relatively simple as the province set the school calendar, it was available online and it applied to all schools in B.C. Some time ago this authority was delegated to the individual school districts and can now vary across the province.
School districts publish their calendars online. To find one, simply search the school district number and the words school calendar.
Safe to say, if you are driving through a school zone between the beginning of September and the end of June, not on a Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday, it would be best to follow the instructions on the school zone sign unless you are certain of the school calendar for that area.
Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca