In early November, a Hub editorial pointed out the strange tendency of some drivers in Hay River to ignore stop signs.

In normal circumstances, those comments on dangerous driving would usually do for a year or so before the topic might come up again in this space.

However, the issue of safety on the town’s streets can’t wait that long, because blowing through stop signs might be among the least of worries when it comes to poor driving in Hay River.

Some irresponsible drivers in this community are speeding through school zones, sometimes while using cell phones.

During the Jan. 11 meeting of town council, Ross Potter, the community’s director of protective services, noted that a driver had been ticketed that day for doing 68 kilometres an hour in a school zone, where the speed limit is just 30 kilometres per hour.

Potter described such a high speed as “totally ridiculous.”

It is impossible to disagree with that. It is beyond belief that a person could be travelling at such a speed in a school zone.

And it also seems impossible that drivers wouldn’t know that it is dangerous and illegal to speed in school zones.

But if anything can be worse than speeding in school zones, it might be – as Potter also noted – that some drivers are even passing school buses as they are offloading students.

Nothing can justify such irresponsible driving. And once again, it seems impossible that drivers wouldn’t know that it is illegal and dangerous to pass school buses while youngsters are exiting the vehicles.

So what is the community left to conclude?

It seems apparent that some drivers in Hay River are a risk to the community’s children.

It’s bad enough to blow through a stop sign, but it is much worse to endanger children.

What in the world can such drivers be thinking to do over double the speed limit in a school zone, or to drive past a school bus as it is offloading students?

The only possible answer seems to be that those drivers know they’re in a school zone or passing offloading school buses, but they don’t care.

That is simply not acceptable.

If a person is operating a motor vehicle, society expects that driver to know the rules of the road and the speed limits, and to obey them. That goes for everywhere in town, but is especially important in school zones.

It is commendable that the Town of Hay River, especially its bylaw officer, is focusing on safety in school zones and around school buses.

However, it is also discouraging that enforcement is even needed to keep some drivers at a safe speed in school zones and to stop them from passing offloading school buses.

Even if there were no laws requiring it, it just makes common sense to slow down and be extra careful when it can be reasonably expected that there will be kids around.

Unfortunately, it appears that some drivers in Hay River lack even the most basic degree of common sense.

It makes you wonder how they ever got a driver’s licence in the first place.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.