Back to School Safety Lessons for Drivers

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Students are now back to school and the lessons of reading, writing and arithmetic have started for another year. With more kids out on the streets, it's a good time for all drivers to take a road safety refresher course. If you don't make the grade, it could cost you in fines, demerit points and higher insurance premiums.

Lesson 1: Slow down in school zones

The speed limit in a school zone is 40 km/hour. Police officers will be out in force at the start of the school year looking for school zone speeders, which could increase your chances of getting a ticket.

The fines and demerit points vary depending on how much you've exceeded the speed limit.

  • Up to 15 km over - a fine only
  • 16 km to 29 km over - a fine and three demerit points
  • 30 km to 49 km over - a fine and four demerit points
  • 50 km or more over - a fine and six demerit points, plus you could be charged with street racing

Even with one minor ticket infraction you could see an increase in your annual insurance premium and have your driving record tarnished.  Additionally, if you had previously been receiving a "conviction free" discount on your policy, you could lose it and see your premiums impacted even further.

For more serious speeding convictions-any charge of 50 km and over-you could see as much as a 50% increase in your premium. Plus, your excellent six or ten star driving record may drop, further affecting your insurance premiums for up to three years from the date of conviction.

Lesson 2: Stop for the school bus

When a school bus is stopped and the red lights are flashing, it is mandatory for vehicles travelling in both directions to stop. If you are convicted of failing to stop for a school bus, you will be issued a fine and receive six demerit points.

But that's not all. You will likely find yourself in the high risk auto insurance market which could cost you thousands of dollars each year in increased insurance premiums.

Lesson 3: Stop at pedestrian crosswalks

Drivers must stop for pedestrians crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. If you fail to stop at a pedestrian crosswalk when someone is crossing, you will be issued a fine and have three demerit points added to your record.

Lesson 4: Buckle up everyone in your vehicle

In Canada, it is the law for drivers and passengers to wear a seatbelt at all times. The penalty for not wearing a seatbelt is a fine and two demerit points. With the kids back to school, it is likely that parents will be carpooling more often-to and from school, to birthday parties, sports events, etc.

As the driver, you are responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 16 are wearing a seatbelt, and that infants and toddlers are in the proper car seats. If not, you could receive a fine and demerit points for each passenger under the age of 16 not properly secured.

Traffic convictions stay on your record for three years from the date of conviction. Demerit points stay on your record for two years from the date of conviction. While you have a conviction on your record, your insurance premiums will remain at a higher level, potentially costing you thousands of dollars.

The most important reason to follow these school zone traffic rules is to keep children safe. But another lesson to be learned is that following these rules could save you money in fines and increased insurance premiums. To find the best rate for car insurance, you can shop around online at sites like