School Speed Zone Times Extended

Amendment to Motor Vehicle Act

As part of government’s New Era commitment to make streets safer, government has amended the Motor Vehicle Act to expand school speed zone times.

The Motor Vehicle Act establishes the maximum speed and time periods allowed in all school zones. The current time limit, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. does not reflect today’s more intensive use of school facilities.

Amending the Act means safer access for children and pedestrians on roadways while travelling to school facilities. This move recognizes the increased use of facilities located within school zones, whether for regular classes, extracurricular activities, or for activities offered by community centres located in or near schools.

An amendment has been brought into force which allows school speed zone hours of operation to be extended where warranted, with no zone commencing later than 8 a.m. or ending sooner than 5 p.m. The effect of the amendment on section 147 is shown here:


 

Schools and playgrounds

(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 hours under subsection (1) may not begin later than 8 a.m. or end earlier than 5 p.m.

The description adjacent to the applicable sign in Division 23 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulation 26/58 is also being amended to provide for extended hours of operation.

School Advanced (30x30)

SCHOOL AREA (Warning) 

This sign indicates there is a school nearby and school children may be present near or on the roadway.

30 KILOMETRES PER HOUR TAB (Regulatory)

When used below the "School Area (Warning)" sign this tab establishes a maximum speed zone of 30 kilometres per hour on school days between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or as otherwise specified. This tab may be amended with the text "8AM – 5PM SCHOOL DAYS" or other times in place of "8 AM – 5 PM" as specified. A period of time otherwise specified must not commence later than 8 a.m. or end earlier than 5 p.m.

The back of the sign assembly for the opposite direction of travel terminates the 30 km/h speed zone.

School districts/boards, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders are being advised of this amendment coming into force.

 

Questions and Answers

What is the purpose of the amendment?

  • The current provision states that a school speed zone is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a regular school day.
  • The amendment modifies this provision to allow for the extension of the hours during which the speed zone is in effect. This is achieved through the indication of hours of operation on school speed zone sign. Where there is no indication of hours, the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. remain in effect.
  • The amendment also provides that no speed zone can commence later than 8 a.m. or end sooner than 5 p.m. This ensures that the period of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the minimum period that all speed zones are in effect.

Why is this amendment needed?

  • A number of public schools have adopted a “shift system” to accommodate increasing enrolment. In addition, many public schools provide extracurricular (and community) activities outside regular school hours, and may have playground or other recreational facilities which are used by students during summer daylight hours.
  • It is good public policy to ensure that the same level of safety is provided to students attending school during non-traditional hours or recreational facilities as students attending school during regular hours.

Did the Ministry consult with stakeholders and what were the results of those consultations?

  • Yes. The Ministry undertook extensive consultations with public school districts, independent schools, law enforcement agencies, ICBC, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Attorney General, the British Columbia Automobile Association, and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. A clear majority of these institutions are in favour of the amendment.

How much will implementation of this amendment cost?

  • The costs associated with the implementation of this amendment consist of the fabrication and installation of new signs where extended hours of school speed zone operation are warranted. These costs will accrue to the applicable authority and are dependent on the number of signs required.
  • Some municipalities, who utilize the authority granted by the amendment to vary school speed zone hours of operation, may also advertise in local media to foster public awareness.

Who will determine if extended hours of school speed zone operation are warranted?

  • Where the school is located on a street under provincial jurisdiction, the hours of operation of a given school speed zone will be determined in consultation between the Ministry, the local government, and the school district/board.
  • Where the school is located on a street under municipal jurisdiction, the hours of operation will be determined in consultation between the local government and the school district/board.

Playground speed zones are in effect from "dawn to dusk". Why not school speed zones?

  • During the winter season, dawn may not occur until 8 a.m. and dusk may occur as early at 4 p.m.
  • It is reasonable to presume that students could be on school grounds prior to dawn and after dusk during the winter season. The school speed zone would not be in operation at these times and children would not be afforded the same level of safety as when speed zones were in operation.

Why not just have one statutory provision that covers both school zones and playground zones?

  • There are some jurisdictions that are exploring the application of "child activity zones" - which contemplates a common regulatory treatment of school zones and playground zones. This concept is relatively new, and the Ministry is following developments in this area.

What penalties are associated with speeding in a school speed zone?

  • A speed limit of 30 km/h applies while within a school speed zone.
  • The penalties for speeding in a school speed zone are:

If speed is between
Total Fine
Driver Penalty Points
     
31 - 50 km/h $196 3
51 - 70 km/h $253 3
71 - 90 km/h $368 3
greater than 90 km/h $483 3