Jennifer Gartner takes the pledge to slow down and be a pace car driver at Okanagan Landing Elementary Thursday.

Jennifer Gartner takes the pledge to slow down and be a pace car driver at Okanagan Landing Elementary Thursday.

Okanagan Landing parents setting pace

Parents enthusiastically signed up as pace car drivers at Okanagan Landing Elementary Thursday.

This round of follow the leader will save lives.

Parents enthusiastically signed up as pace car drivers at Okanagan Landing Elementary Thursday.

“We need to put more effort on speed limits because people don’t pay attention,” said Jennifer Gartner after taking the pledge and receiving a vehicle sticker.

Through the City of Vernon initiative, parents and residents are asked to sign up as pace car drivers. They will drive respectfully and within speed limits in the hope they will influence the actions of other motorists.

Okanagan Landing Elementary was selected as the first school in the program because of the number of students who walk along Okanagan Landing Road.

“It is a busy, fast road,” said Geoff Straight, school parents advisory council vice-president.

“We’re hopeful this initiative spreads out to other areas like Tronson and Bella Vista roads.”

Jade Klimp, a Grade 6 student, has experienced some close calls as she heads to class.

“You see the cars flying past and I get scared because they may not see me,” she said.

The pace car drivers are considered to be mobile traffic calming.

“I will be a human speed bump,” said Juliette Cunningham, a Vernon city councillor, who has embraced the program.

Cunningham insists the goal of pace car drivers isn’t to be vigilantes but to promote proper etiquette when behind the wheel.

“The health and safety of students is important to me,” she said.

Statistics indicate that a pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 50 kilometres an hour is eight times more likely to be killed than a person hit at 30 kilometres an hour.

“Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

The city received a $1,500 grant from Parachute, a national injury prevention charity, to launch the pace care program at Okanagan Landing school.

A second launch will be held Nov. 5 at Silver Star Elementary School.