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Series of near-misses spark Vancouver Island school crosswalk warning

Sooke School District issues warning to trivers failing to stop for children near Langford schools
The Sooke School District is reminding drivers of the rules of the road after three near misses in marked crosswalks near Langford schools. (Black Press Media file photo).

Drivers have been failing to stop for children and crossing guards in marked crosswalks and the Sooke School District is sounding the alarm.

In recent weeks, SD62 said there have been three near misses involving crossing guards in the Westhills neighbourhood near PEXSISEN Elementary School and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School. In all three cases, crossing guards had their stop signs out and were in crosswalks.

One driver, after ignoring the stop sign, told the crossing guard they legally didn’t have to stop or obey the crossing guard.

The West Shore RCMP is working to provide more of a presence in the area, the school district said in a statement, and is reminding motorists of their responsibilities while behind the wheel – including being legally obligated to obey crossing guards.

“Crosswalk and school zone safety is essential for pedestrians and motorists. It is critical that motorists follow the rules of the roads to ensure that our students and all members of the community are safe while using marked crosswalks, including those with crossing guards,” the district wrote in the statement. “Our priority is that students, staff and community members arrive safely to their destination and we hope that motorists will do their part to ensure that happens.”

SD62 offered some safety reminders to help motorists be more diligent near schools. They include making eye contact with children and crossing guards so they know they have been seen, stopping for all pedestrians and crossing guards and waiting for them to clear the crosswalk before proceeding, not passing other vehicles at crosswalks, checking for children in crosswalks before turning at an intersection, following the school or playground zone speed limit and avoiding distracted driving.

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