Since the beginning of this school year, Sunshine Coast RCMP have received more than 30 formal complaints of drivers failing to stop for school bus stop signs.
“This traffic violation poses a serious risk to the children of our community,” said Const. Ashley Taylor. “As we move into winter, the mornings are darker and the roadways are slippery, causing an even greater risk to children. When approaching or following a school bus, it is very important for both lanes of traffic to come to a complete stop when seeing this stop sign and wait until the sign is retracted before proceeding.”
When encountering a school bus, drivers are reminded:
• To slow down and prepare for the bus to make frequent stops to load and unload children.
• A school bus driver activates a stop sign in order to stop traffic for unattended children to cross the highway.
• It is illegal for a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus with its red light flashing.
• All vehicles travelling in the same and opposite direction as the bus are required to stop.
• Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and stop sign are turned off.
• Children can be easily excited and distracted by friends, and it only takes a second for them to run onto the roadway.
According to the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act, it is prohibited to pass a school bus displaying red alternating lights. Drivers in both directions must stop and wait for the bus driver to load or off-load children and turn off the signal lights, before proceeding. The fine for failing to stop for a school bus is $167.
Randy Gould at the Sechelt School Bus Service explained that many more than 30 drivers this year have failed to stop; however, only formal complaints are written when licence plates are recorded. He said buses are well equipped with red flashing lights and strobe lights to increase visibility. Despite these measures, he reports drivers appear either distracted or confused when they drive through school bus stop signs.
Between 7 and 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. school bus drivers are on their routes and drivers should slow down and expect frequent stops.
If you observe someone breaking this law, record the drivers’ licence plate number and description of the vehicle and driver and contact the Sunshine Coast RCMP at 604-885-2266.
— Submitted by Sunshine Coast RCMP