School Zones in Front of High School are BS
Last year in October I’m driving along Primrose, a street here in Saskatoon and I’m cruising along, I got my seatbelt on and I’m driving at what I believe to be a safe speed, got one arm out the window and enjoying my drive when all of a sudden I see police lights going off in my rearview mirror. My first thought is what am I being pulled over for? I’m not speeding, I got my seatbelt on, I was at a complete stop at a red light and wasn’t doing anything crazy. After being pulled over I found out that I was in a school zone and since the speed limit was 30 km/hr and I was driving 56 km/hr and since there is an automatic 200 dollar surcharge for speeding in a school zone, this resulted in a 424 dollar fine. On top of that since I’ve gotten points on my license, this resulted in a 450 dollar surcharge. I tried taking it to court because of confusing signage (which is a whole other blog entry) but in the end was forced to pay and was out almost a 1000 dollars.
I wasn’t driving 80, I didn’t blow through a red light, I wasn’t waving a shotgun out my window or driving drunk and yet I had to pay 1000 dollars. There was a kid that was arrested in Prince Albert who got out on a 100 dollars bail for nearly killing a taxi driver with a machete resulting in him having to get 167 stitches, yes that’s not a typo, 100 dollars, 1/10th what I had to pay. Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think going 56 in a school zone is worst for general public safety then someone randomly stabbing cab drivers with machetes but that’s just my opinion.
Now I might understand the need for a ticket if I was driving by an elementary school in a quiet residential neighbourhood but this was a high school and I was driving down a 4 lane road. The school is surrounded by commercial outlets like a gas station, Diary Queen and a KFC and doesn’t even look like a high school. Since this was at like 10:30, it was the middle of the morning when there weren’t any kids around because they were all in classes. The only thing that indicates that there’s a high school there is a lowly 30 km/hr sign three blocks back.
Do we really need to drive 30km/hr by high schools? I mean these kids are between 14-18 years old. They know how to look both ways before crossing the road. Some of these kids are old enough to drive. If you look at most high school parking lots, they are driving vehicles that are nicer then the teachers. If you’re old enough to frickin drive then you are old enough to cross the street. I almost think that the decreased speeds might make things more dangerous because the kids are very cavalier and careless about crossing the road since everyone is driving so slowly.
Most high schools in Saskatoon are on major roads throughout the city severely impeding traffic and slowing down the traffic flow of the city. Taylor St and is a major west-east artery in town and has five school zones. Driving down it anytime throughout the day is a major headache so what does everyone do? They drive down all the side roads that run parallel with that street. This in turn actually makes all those quiet residential streets full of uncontrolled intersections that much more dangerous for all the kids that are walking around those areas throughout the day that may not be in a school zone.
Driving 30 km/hr is not easy, it takes constant finessing of the gas pedal to maintain that speed and it’s very easy on most vehicles to creep back up to 50 because most vehicles were designed to comfortably drive at that speed. So as a result of this, people are spending more time watching their speedometer then actually paying attention to the road.
The Saskatoon Police chief has admitted that these school zone speeds warrant review yet of course nothing has happened. I’m sorry but driving 40-50 while driving by a high school is not endangering anyone. Of course the first 1st of September they were out there with their stupid radar guns and ticketed 37 people, like man give people a day to get used to it for crying out loud. They’ve even been out there on statutory holidays when there isn’t a student in sight which is just shameless.
The Saskatoon Police have handed out 407 cell phone tickets since the new law came into effect which carries a 380 dollar fine plus 4 points on your license. The Regina Police have handed out 66 tickets. Are people in Regina more law abiding? I seriously doubt it. No the Saskatoon Police Service just put a much greater emphasis on handing out easy money tickets, meanwhile our crime rate is the highest in the country.
So in closing let me just say this, this is nothing but a stupid money grab for the Saskatoon Police, SGI and Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice. They know how easy it is to break this law and how expensive the tickets are. I’m not a maniac, if I see kids nearby I slow down. I think everyone involved in the allocation of police resources need to reevaluate their priorities and use all these squad cars they have hiding in the bushes in school zones towards ya know, actual real crime and lay off the law abiding tax paying citizens that they seem to be targeting.