Why 30?

I had the chance to sit in on City Council’s Transportation Committee’s conversation about traffic safety near schools back in May and you may be surprised to learn who made the biggest impact on me that day.

Road signs - vector

It wasn’t the politicians or the community league representatives.  It was 11-year old Nicholas Kolber, a Westbrook student and AMA school patroller.  He talked about his many safety concerns as a patroller including winter windrows, vehicles making U-turns and failing to stop at patrol signs. Nicholas also spoke about the near misses he had witnessed, noting that many drivers drove too quickly through the crosswalk risking the safety of students and pedestrians.

Nicholas’ words didn’t just resonate with me; everyone in the room took note.

With 30 km/h school zones in force beginning on Tuesday, September 2 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., I’ll be thinking about Nicholas, my own 10-year-old niece Raissa and all the other kids excited for their first day back to school. I’m usually careful driving near schools because I can’t imagine the pain and anguish of hitting a child. Frankly, it’s my worst nightmare.

Just take a look at this video. The first time I watched it, chills ran down my spine.

Why 30?

Can you imagine that scenario taking place with a real child and not a Styrofoam stand-in? I can’t either.

I had no clue about the impact speed has on a collision until I started working for the Office of Traffic Safety a few months ago. It still boggles my mind how much of a difference driving even 20 km/hr slower can make.  It can be the difference between life and death.

According to Safe Kids Canada, when kids are struck by vehicles, their injuries are often life-threatening or cause permanent physical damage. Reducing vehicle speed has been proven to be effective in preventing crashes and reducing the severity of injuries.

And now it’s the law that we have to slow down where 30 km/h school zone signs are posted.  The City will monitor with photo radar to make sure we do while Police will be at schools monitoring drivers.

Let’s look out for each other, Edmonton… by slowing down.

For more info, check out Why 30?: edmonton.ca/why30

Dajana Fabjanovich is a Communications Advisor who works with the City’s Office of Traffic Safety.