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Give the school bus a break

The school year is in full swing, which means that school zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day. Something that is often overlooked however are the rules for drivers around school buses.

When meeting or overtaking a school bus displaying its stop sign and flashing red lights, drivers must stop and not proceed until the lights and signs are deactivated.

School buses transport thousands of children every day and their safety is paramount. Unfortunately, members of the Central Okanagan Traffic Services see too often that drivers are failing to stop for school buses. Not only are those drivers failing to stop, they are also usually driving too fast.

"On average we have had about 100 complaints per year in the past five or six years, but that is a conservative estimate considering that bus drivers are simply unable to get every plate number, especially those vehicles that are traveling at such high rates of speed as they pass," says Cst Tim Monteith of the Central Okanagan Traffic Services.

School buses are an obvious indicator that children may be nearby and failing to stop for the bus could end up with more serious consequences than just a traffic violation ticket.

Cst. Monteith fears there could be a death if people don't start to take more care around school buses and school zones.

"A child was struck last year by a motorist in the Oliver area and it appears that drivers are not getting the message," says Cst Monteith.

Children go to school to learn about mathematics, science and language; it's time that motorists learned to slow down in school zones and stop for school buses.

Tickets and fines under the BC Motor Vehicle Act:

Description                                               Fines

  • Speed in school / playground zone            $196-$253
  • Fail to stop for school bus                             $167
  • Fail to yield to pedestrian                              $167
  • Pass vehicle yielding to pedestrian             $167
  • Disobey school guard / patrol                       $167

Here is a video we did at the start of the school year.

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