Heavy police presence planned with a focus on motorists as kids head back to school

Police will be out in full force patrolling the streets as thousands of students return to face-to-face learning following the long weekend.

Starting Tuesday, motorists will notice an increased police presence in school zones throughout the region to encourage and enforce safety.

"Motorists are urged to slow down and put away your phone," South Simcoe Police stated in a release on Thursday.

Police remind motorists to follow speed limits and avoid parking in school zones.

CROSSING GUARD SHORTAGE

Police ask motorists to be extra cautious of children crossing the street.

Some communities will notice a shortage of crossing guards as municipalities deal with a lack of workers.

The City of Orillia recently put out an urgent call for crossing guards, saying more than a dozen locations would be unguarded come Tuesday.

Municipalities will deploy crossing guards to the busiest areas and place warning signs at the crossings left unattended.

TIPS FOR PARENTS

Police ask parents to talk with children about road safety.

They encourage kids to stick to routes without taking shortcuts, use sidewalks away from the road, and always wear a fitted helmet when riding a bike or scooter.

Police also say children should cross at marked crosswalks and maintain a social distance from others.

PENALTIES FOR DRIVERS

Failing to stop for a school bus with flashing lights and stop sign or extended arm could result in a fine of $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points for a first offence.

A motorist convicted of distracted driving could face a fine of up to $1,000.

Speeding in a school zone will land a driver with a fine of $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points.

Police encourage drivers to be vigilant as the new school year begins.

"Give yourself extra time to avoid rushing and reduce the stress of the return to regular routines," police added.