Speed Radar Backpacks Introduced in Regina New approach reminds drivers to slow down in school zones
The City of Regina is partnering with CAA, Regina Police Service and the Public and Catholic School Divisions throughout the month of October on a new initiative to raise awareness of safe speeds in school zones. Through the schools’ CAA Safety Patrol program, student patrollers will wear backpacks that have radar built in and display a drivers’ speed. Student patrollers will be accompanied by an adult from one of the partnering organizations.
“As part of the City’s road safety initiatives, these backpacks are a great way to involve students and attract the attention of drivers to promote speed awareness” says Director of Roadways & Transportation for the City of Regina, Chris Warren. “The speed sign provides a quick reminder of the importance of being alert and attentive when driving in school zones.”
“CAA Saskatchewan is excited to be a part of this community initiative for continued safety education around school zones,” said CAA Senior Communications Specialist Angel Blair. “As safety ambassadors, our CAA School Safety Patrollers know firsthand about the dangers and unsafe practices performed by motorists in our busy school zones. Our hope is that this project will help increase safety public awareness, resulting in improved behaviours and practices. We want school zones to be safe for our patrollers to do their jobs but also safe for the students they are helping on their journey to and from school. Through our CAA School Zone Safety Assessments completed at various schools around the province, including Regina, we know that the top two risky behaviors performed by motorists in school zones are speeding and distracted driving. As an example of this need for change, our assessment in April of this year, at two Regina schools observed over 515 motorist infractions including speeding, distracted driving, and other unsafe behaviours.”
Regina is the first City in Saskatchewan to launch this initiative. The use of speed radar backpacks started in Quebec as a campaign to help raise awareness around school zone speeds with positive feedback from residents and students. It is now being adopted in many municipalities throughout Quebec, and now in Regina.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see drivers who choose to disobey the law, despite knowing the potentially tragic outcomes. When it comes to school zones, these poor choices are affecting the children in our community,” says Sgt. Mark Golaiy. “We welcome all partnerships that encourage safe driving behaviour and will continue to do our part by patrolling school zones and handing out tickets, very expensive ones, when necessary.”
“Regina Public Schools encourages any initiatives to reduce motorists’ speed in school zones and to help make it safer for students and school families as they go to and from schools, says Darren Boldt, Director of Education/CEO, Regina Public Schools. “We are grateful to our partners at the City of Regina for launching this school zone speed awareness campaign and hope it helps protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Josh Kramer, CFO at Regina Catholic Schools, also supports the efforts aimed at lowering vehicle speeds in school zones. On behalf of RCSD Transportation, he says, “Safety is always our top priority. Enhancing safety for students, staff and families is critical, especially right before and after school. We appreciate the collaboration, and hope adding the smiles of students will keep the focus on those we most need to protect in Regina.”
The City has four speed radar backpacks that will be in use at different schools throughout the month of October. After the October initiative comes to a close, the City will work with partners to consider expanding to additional schools throughout the school year.
The City would like to acknowledge and thank the Service de police de Laval, the Sûreté du Québec (Québec provincial police) and the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) for their technical support in bringing this new and exciting initiative to Regina.