EDITORIAL: School speed zones exist for a reason

When the Sooke RCMP set up their speed enforcement officers outside Journey Middle School last week, it didn’t come as a surprise to officers that they didn’t have to wait long before they began pulling over speeders.

Despite the clearly marked 30 km/h speed zone, police stopped more than 80 drivers within the span of 90 minutes and, in an ironic twist, many of those drivers had children seated in the back of the car and identified themselves as parents rushing to get their own child to school.

Some of those drivers told police they had been running late and had ignored the speed zone, but still felt they were still driving safely. A dangerous and shameless bit of rationalization that the officers hear too often.

Some, it seemed, seemed genuinely surprised that they were in a school zone. They claimed not to have seen the sign, perhaps, as some claimed, it was because they were in a hurry or distracted. Some, perhaps, were simply oblivious to the world around them.

A dangerous state of mind when in control of two tons of rolling steel.

All the drivers were relieved to find that this traffic stop was different. The RCMP weren’t issuing tickets on this rainy morning. Instead the speeders were handed a personal message from a child, imploring them to slow down in school zones and reminding them that there could be deadly consequences to speeding through the area. The simple message was “Think of me”.

It was an attempt to appeal to the humanity of drivers and remind them that the speed zones exist for a reason.

But it was one final set of drivers to whom that message should have been most relevant, but to whom it may have been lost.

It was the drivers who offered no defence of their failure to follow the law and sat, sullen and defiant, showing no remorse but, rather, a inexplicable sense of grievance at the imposition on their schedule.

These are the drivers who most need to read the cards they were handed that morning.

They need to consider that every year, dozens of children are killed and injured by drivers in B.C.; tragic events that forever shatter the lives of everyone involved.

And no sense of entitlement by defiant drives, or vacuous rationalizations of people on a schedule are enough to justify the behaviours that result in these tragedies.

There is no excuse for putting children’s safety at risk. Think of them the next time you drive through a school zone.

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