Winnipeg police are out in full force, cracking down on speeders in school zones and catching about one every minute.

Sgt. Russ Heslop, who was monitoring drivers near Victoria-Albert School at Ellen Street and Bannatyne Avenue on Tuesday, is surprised people aren't getting the message to slow down to 30 km/h.

"I'm actually quite disappointed," he said. "We're getting a violator — one a minute — at minimum.

"I thought with all the media attention that's been going on and, let's face it, with back to school, it's not a one-time event. It happens every year."

It likely won't take many tickets for a driver to get that message. Fines start at $181.50 for going 10 km/h over the posted speed limit while anyone caught at 20 km/hr over the limit — in other words, driving at 50 km/h in a school zone — face a $312.25 fine.

On Tuesday, drivers passing through the Victoria-Albert location got off lucky, with just a warning.

But Heslop said that won't last long and police will be a high-profile presence at all the schools.

And the excuses won't work.

Police catch speeders

Police remind drivers on Tuesday that the new school zone speed limits are in effect. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

"The stories that we're getting already is like [ridiculous]," Heslop said. "A little earlier, I was standing by the two [speed limit]

signs, same colour as my jacket, and the person said, 'I didn't see the signs.'"

 Others claimed the signs were obscured.

"They look at the technicality of it — the sign's too close, or the sign's too far away, or whatever," Heslop said.

"That's not the kind of gambling that you should be doing. If you want to gamble go to the casinos, put your money in there. Don't gamble with the children going to school." 

Nancy Wong-Mitchell was one of those pulled over after being caught going more than 50 km/h. She said she feels especially bad because she is a teacher.

"I'm mad at myself. I just, I guess I just wasn't paying attention," she said. "I feel horrible.”

Major routes exempt

Even with the lower limits, Pina Militano is still worried about her kids crossing the street.

“Traffic on Grant [Avenue] is a complete nightmare. I find it busy at all hours of the day," she said.

"If I was the one to make a decision, [the reduced limits] would be on Grant, not the side streets."

The speed limit on Grant isn't dropping in front of Montrose School because it's a major route, according to city officials.

Militano said that's a dangerous decision but city Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said it's a good first step.

"It is problematic when you have schools on busy streets and you have to be extra, extra careful," she said.

Gerbasi said she's willing to work with schools that want to increase safety.

To qualify for a reduced speed limit, the school must be for elementary-aged students, not located on a major route, and have enough room to put up signs to warn drivers.

The reduced school zones are in effect Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sept. 1 to June 30.

A full list of fines can be found in the "Speeding Table" section of Manitoba Justice's Brown Book, starting at Page 2-22.