Hans Helgesen Elementary school students Soleil Steffes (right to left), Sophia Charles-Meers and Damarkus Charles show off the posters they coloured for ICBC’s Think of Me campaign. As part of the campaign, the West Shore RCMP’s traffic unit handed out the cards to drivers by Hans Helgesen and Ruth King Elementary in Langford on Tuesday, reminding them to slow down in school zones. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

ICBC speed campaign shows drivers what’s at stake

West Shore RCMP hand out elementary school students’ drawings to drivers

Drivers on the West Shore received heartfelt reminders earlier this week of what’s really at stake when they speed through school zones.

As part of ICBC’s campaign, dozens of elementary school students from Ruth King Elementary in Langford and Hans Helgesen Elementary in Metchosin created “Think of Me” cards, which were then handed out to drivers passing by the schools on Tuesday. The message: slow down in school zones.

“It’s one thing to get a ticket. It’s another thing to get a message hand-drawn by a child. I think that’s pretty impactful. It shows the humanity side behind the issue and it’s not just receiving a ticket for a violation. It’s a school expressing their concerns about safety and kids want to be safe in their community,” said Colleen Woodger, ICBC road safety co-ordinator

Const. Matthew Baker of the West Shore RCMP hands out cards on Tuesday that were coloured by students at Hans Helgensen Elementary school to drivers as part of ICBC’s Think of Me campaign, which reminds drivers to slow down in school zones. Officers handed out cards to drivers by Ruth King elementary earlier this day as well. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

“When you bring enforcement and education together, our ultimate goal is to create behaviour change.”

RELATED: Think of Me program in Oak Bay shows speeders what’s at stake

In partnership with the West Shore RCMP’s traffic unit, officers handed out 250 cards to drivers in a 45-minute period at Ruth King and 200 cards at Hans Helgesen, while also educating drivers about their speed and distracted driving.

According to Woodger, school staff and members of parent advisory committees have expressed concerns about speeders along Jacklin and Rocky Point roads in recent months, with some drivers going 20 kilometres over the posted 30 km/h speed limit. She hopes the campaign will remind drivers to slow down in school zones between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Const. Matthew Baker of the West Shore RCMP said warning drivers they are in school zones will help reduce speeding issues in the future. “Metchosin is growing and this [Rocky Point Road] is quite a busy street,” he said. “If we can get to those people early and let them know that they are going through a school zone, these are the fines that you are liable for if you are caught speeding, then we can nip this problem in the bud before it becomes a bigger issue and most importantly before anyone gets hurt.”

The campaign is part of ICBC’s safer school travel program. It originated in Vancouver a few years ago and Woodger brought the program to Greater Victoria last year. A number of schools throughout the Capital Region and south Vancouver Island are also participating. Drivers caught going 31 to 50 kilometres in 30 km/h speed zones are subjected to a $196 fine and three points. Drivers caught going 51 to 70 km/h could be hit with a $253 fine.


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kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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