With schools across the province opening their doors to students, drivers are being asked by RCMP to slow down and drive with caution.
School zones are now in effect, and there will be an increase in foot and vehicle traffic around schools and neighbourhoods, including school buses before and after school hours.
“Unfortunately there is often confusion about motorists responsibilities when approaching school buses,” said superintendent Denis Boucher, Officer in Charge, E Division Traffic Services. “Rules under the B.C. Motor Vehicle act are designed to keep children safe when they are boarding or getting off school buses.”
When encountering a school bus drivers are reminded that:
• It is illegal for a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus with its red light flashing.
• The red light is a legal stop sign that has the same authority as any other stop sign.
• All vehicles must stop when the school bus displays flashing red warning lights and extends the stop signal arm. Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and signals are turned off.
• All vehicles travelling in the same or opposite direction as the bus are always required to stop.
• Keep an eye out for children walking or riding their bikes to and from school.
“Closer to schools and in school zones we are also encouraging drivers to exercise greater caution, and obey the school zone speed limits. It only takes a second for a child to run out onto the road,” added Boucher.
General tips for motorists around schools include:
• Slowing down.
• Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones, always expect the unexpected.
• Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your parking garage.
• We want school children to be safe. Watch for them on bicycles, especially at intersections and driveways. Young bicyclists have a tendency to dart out of driveways without looking for traffic.
• If you decide to meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can get so excited at seeing you after school they might forget safety rules and dash across the street.
— Submitted by SC RCMP