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Manitoba Public Insurance is again funding increased traffic law enforcement in Manitoba school zones.

MPI vice-president Ward Keith says this is the sixth year MPI has partnered with police agencies for this initiative.

“This year, participating agencies include of course the Winnipeg Police Service, but also the RCMP, the Brandon Police Service, and the police services in Winkler, Morden, Altona, Rivers, and Ste. Anne,” says Keith.

Keith says MPI is providing a total of about $73,000 in funding for this year’s campaign, up from about $50,000 last year. He says the extra dollars allow for greater police presence in school zones.

Keith says there have been 5,000 offense notices given out over five years through this campaign, but he says it’s not about that.

“This is really about improving road safety. And from our perspective, to fund this program, if we were to have no offense notices issued as a result of the funding that we provide then that would be a success for us,” says Keith.

In many Manitoba communities, including Winnipeg, from September to June, during posted times, speed limits in marked school zones are reduced to 30 kilometres per hour. Tough the enhanced school zone enforcement campaign is on the lookout for all kinds of unsafe driving, Keith says more than half of the 5,000 offense notices issued so far have been for speeding.

Winnipeg Police traffic division Staff Sergeant Sean Pollock reminds drivers to be cautious in school zones at all times, not just when the law tells you to. He says school zones are playgrounds where kids congregate beyond school hours.

“Recognize that that extra couple seconds that you’re going to gain by speeding through these areas is never worth a collision with a child,” says Pollock.

And Pollock has a message for parents as well, when it comes to school drop-off and pick-up:

“Often times the parents who are incredibly worried about their child’s safety, whether it’s biking or otherwise, they end up parking in an inappropriate place, they ignore some of our traffic control devices, they double-park, and things like that unfortunately also represent a significant risk for our kids. So those are messages that we need for everyone to take to heart and really start to impact their driving behaviours,” says Pollock.

Photo radar enforcement is not a part of this campaign; that’s extra.