Hey, look out for me!

By John O’Flaherty

Hello, I am a school bus. I am big, yellow and black, and I carry children to and from school. I have red lights flashing both front and back, along with two red and white stop signs with flashing red lights popping out into oncoming traffic's view when I am picking up or discharging children.

My driver takes pride in picking up and bringing children home, with safety at the top of list when driving. When the driver activates the safety equipment on the bus, it means that drivers of other vehicles either oncoming or following are to stop 60 metres from the bus to ensure the children are safe. The driver is responsible for transporting your children, grandchildren, brothers or sisters, nieces or nephews, or friends.

When the driver observes a vehicle preparing to run through the bus lights, they are prepared to take down the licence number, make of vehicle, whether the driver was male or female, date and time, and location. You will probably hear the driver honk the air horn to get your attention. Then the info is put into a report and submitted to the RCMP. We then wait for the RCMP to charge the registered owner of the vehicle.

We as drivers take great pleasure when we get the call from police stating we are required in court to give evidence against the vehicle that went through the safety lights and stop arms.

As far as we drivers are concerned, this violation is no different than careless or dangerous driving, as it puts children’s lives in severe jeopardy.

Once in court, the registered owner goes before a judge and is found either guilty or not guilty. If they are guilty, they have to pay a fine and receive demerit points. If they have tears, or a poor me story, they can usually get the fine reduced, without another thought of how they put a child’s safety in jeopardy.

This is a friendly reminder that when coming upon a school bus, be safe, slow down, and watch for the lights and stop arm, then stop.


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