Why Are School Zones Important For Drivers and Students?

Like rushing out the door and forgetting your lunch, school zones are often missed – especially when some drivers don’t know when the hours are in effect. School zones are typically next to a school where students are arriving, playing during recess, and surrounding crosswalks.

School zones were established to:

  • Protect children attending after-hour activities at schools
  • Reduce driver confusion around changing hours in different zones
  • Create consistent start and end times city-wide where our children to safely play

The speed limit for Alberta school zones is 30km/h between between 7:30 am - 9:00 pm each school day. School zones are important because they help with stopping distances, reduce collisions, and are good for drivers too.


According to the City of Edmonton, “A 30 km/hr impact is the equivalent of falling from a second-story window (3.5 metres). A collision at 50 km/hr is like falling from a fourth-floor window (9.8 metres).”


stopping distance chart


Both the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary have made all School zones into Playground zones because drivers forget or ignore the school hours posted for weekdays. Furthermore:

About 20 percent of pedestrian collisions happen between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. [The City of Calgary] pointed out school gyms and other facilities are often used for sports and extracurricular activities after school gets out.

Not only do school zones help with giving more stopping power in the case of an emergency, they also reduce the number of collisions.


Since school zones have been added to certain areas in Calgary and Edmonton, collisions have dropped by 13%, injuries and fatalities by 42%, and injuries to vulnerable road users have come down by 71%.

More to Read: How Does Carrot Make Roads Safer for New Drivers?

Mohammad Habib, a Grade 7 crosswalk patroller in Edmonton, put it this way, “I remember trying to cross once and someone was coming at us doing 50 or 60,” Habib remembers. “When we put out our signs, they didn’t stop, so we had to hold back the kids. It can get pretty frustrating.” 

Students notice drivers’ bad habits when driving near their school zones.


The City of Calgary has written 3,000 tickets last year alone, and from 2016-2018, there has been $36.7 million in total fines. Staying alert and driving safely in school zones can pay for itself when you think about the fact that fines start at $330.


Police officer with speed camera in playground zone

More to Read: Blind Spots Your New Driver Needs to Watch

Some Tips:

  • Be Alert - Please keep your eyes up and on the road - your phone can wait.
  • Cross at the Crosswalk - Whenever mom and dad jaywalk, they can set a bad example for their student driver
  • Park Away from the School - Schools areas are busy places, so make sure to park far enough away so congestion doesn’t happen.

If you want a more detailed look into how school zone laws are being enforced and the safety of your teen driver and pedestrians, CBC Calgary has more to share.

It’s important for students and drivers to watch out for school zones and be patient with each other. Learn more about how Carrot can help lower insurance and get your new driver paid for choosing better driving habits!


Carrot is as easy to use as 123:

  1. Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
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  3. Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!

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