Police in White Rock and South Surrey were out in force this week in an effort to remind motorists to slow down in school zones.
And judging by some of the statistics, the message is needed.
“We’ve had so many tickets this week, it’s awful,” White Rock RCMP Const. Chantal Sears said Thursday.
“Yesterday, we were up to 43 (in two days). We seem to have some education that needs to happen.”
Surrey RCMP tweeted Friday afternoon that they had issued 33 tickets in just one day – two of which were handed out for excessive speed outside of Crescent Park Elementary, where drivers were clocked at 78 and 82 km/h.
In school zones, the speed limit is 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In White Rock, Sears organized a three-day blitz, from Tuesday (the opening day of school) to Thursday, after securing funding to enlist the help of the Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU).
Officers were out and about throughout the city, but put a particular focus on Peace Arch and White Rock elementaries.
Outside Peace Arch Elementary Thursday afternoon, Sears described the campaign as successful – but not in terms of officers having nothing to do.
“It’s been successful in that all the kids have stayed safe,” she told Peace Arch News.
IRSU Const. Brock Harrington said he clocked school-zone drivers at speeds of up to 57 km/h. He also kept a close eye out for other infractions, including seatbelt and cellphone use.
On at least two occasions during the blitz, the traffic stops uncovered additional violations. In addition to a speeding ticket, one motorist left the area with a $230 fine for having an open beer in his vehicle; another was given a driving prohibition and had his vehicle impounded after he was found to be “impaired by drug.”
Sears said two speeders she pulled over were parents with children in the vehicle who should have been in five-point harnesses.
“The parents acknowledged that they were late for school and in a rush,” she said.
One driver pulled over Thursday afternoon for not wearing a seatbelt was expressive in explaining to the two children he was with as to why he had to speak to police.
“I was an idiot,” he said loudly, elaborating to a nearby parent volunteer and others who were nearby that he had taken off his seatbelt before rounding the corner onto Roper Avenue.
The vocal display, he noted, was part of him “sucking up” to police in hopes of leniency.
That continued effort in closer conversation with the officer was unsuccessful, Harrington told PAN, acknowledging that while there are situations where police have discretion, this wasn’t one of them.
“Not today,” Harrington said. “Whoever I have contact with, I want them to remember (school-zone safety) for the year.”
Fines for speeding in a school zone start at $196; driving without a seatbelt can net a $167-fine.