Posted on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 4 p.m.
School bus stop sign scofflaws
“It happens at least four times a week.”
That’s what Renee Yuill outlined during a recent phone interview. As the manager of Rockland’s Tiny Hoppers daycare on Laurier Street, she witnesses first hand how some drivers flatly ignore the flashing red stop sign of school buses.
“There are four lanes on that stretch of road,” she explained. “I see some drivers pass through them whenever the buses have their sign out. I’ve also seen some drivers who were behind the bus just pass them.”
Yuill has contacted the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in the past, which has led to several tickets being handed out. Yet it seems to not have had too much effect. “They still do it,” she said. “It’s very dangerous.”
Although the daycare staff can’t do anything to stop drivers from practising such a dangerous action, the woman stressed that the only thing they can do is teach the children under their care about road safety. “We tell them to be extra diligent when coming close to the road,” she added.
Luckily enough, the children that do board the bus from the daycare don’t have to cross the road, as the bus picks them up on the same side of the institution.
The threat is taken very seriously, according to OPP Community Safety Officer Cynthia Savard. “It’s our kids that are on those buses,” she explained during a phone interview. “We have revised our plan of action to tackle the matter.”
These plans include modifying bus routes as well as having more police presence around known problematic areas.
“We’ve contacted school bus services,” Savard said. “Now it’s a matter of speaking with bus drivers.”
In accordance with the Highway Traffic Act, motorists encountering a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing shall stop before reaching the bus. He shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.
The minimum fine for failing to stop for a school bus is $400 and six demerit points. This applies whether motorists are meeting or following a school bus, and includes multi-lane roads. The only exception is when driving on a road with a median - traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.