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Behind-the-Wheel

What is a 'regular' school day when driving in a school zone?

Driving in school zones

A reader remarked that the term "school days," in relation to school zone signs, is becoming more and more ambiguous.

The Motor Vehicle Act merely refers to “a person driving a vehicle on a regular school day" and I no longer know what a regular school day is, particularly since I don't have kids in school and when I am in an unfamiliar area of the province.

For example, some school districts take a two-week spring break, others only one. Some schools are going with shorter summer vacations and what about ProD days? Some private schools have different schedules. It used to be much more uniform date-wise.

Perhaps a change to school zone signs to display flashing lights on school days and reading 30 km/hr when lights flashing.

These could be programmable so human error in forgetting to turn on the sign could be reduced.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act, under schools and playgrounds:

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

The courts have decided a regular school day is any day the school calendar says school is in session. Those include Pro D days. That used to be relatively simple as the province set the school calendar. It was available online and it applied to all schools in BC. Some time ago, that authority was delegated to individual school districts and can now vary across the province.

School districts publish their calendars on line. To find one, simply search the school district number and the words school calendar.

It is safe to say, if you drive through a school zone between the beginning of September and the end of June—not on a Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday—it would be best to follow the instructions on the school zone sign unless you are certain of the school calendar for that area.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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