School District No.46 (SD46) wants to see school buses outfitted with extended stop arms to improve safety.
At the Jan. 8 regular school board meeting, trustees voted to send a motion to the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) that would see the association advocate to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow for the use of extended stop arms on school busses.
Currently, the fleet uses a stop sign that extends from the driver’s side of the bus when stationary, as well as flashing red lights to alert traffic. An extended stop arm would also be positioned on the driver’s side with a stop sign attached, but would extend partway across the road and act as a physical barrier preventing cars from passing a bus when utilized, according to SD46.
The motion will be reviewed by the BCSTA and with their approval, would be forwarded to the province for consideration. “It basically would set provincial advocacy direction for the BCSTA,” said secretary-treasurer Nicholas Weswick at the meeting.
The extended stop arms function as a physical barrier to prevent cars from passing school buses. They have yet to be approved for use in B.C.
Amending the Motor Vehicle Act would open up the possibility for their use province-wide.
School bus safety has been an ongoing issue for the current school board. The district is also researching the use dash cams on school buses after parents in Pender Harbour raised concerns that vehicles were passing school buses when stopped to pick up children. According to Weswick, “Our current task is selecting cameras that will collect high-quality images without being permanently installed into the contractor’s bus fleet.”