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By: Deutschmann Personal Injury & Disability Law (Lawyers) | Published 09/05/2016
Local media reported last year that school bus drivers reported over 600 events when cars had passed them while they were stopped loading/unloading children on our Regional roads. Simply put this is unacceptable. We rely on school buses to safely transport children to and from school. It is up to us as drivers to stop for the buses.
All drivers are familiar with the buses. They are big, uniquely yellow, and have flashing red lights at the top. They are labelled SCHOOL BUS, and have a stop sign with flashing lights that flips out when the vehicle is stopped. I t is not understandable how a driver could possible not notice a stopped flashing yellow bus on the road. And yet they do. Almost every year we hear of a child being hit by traffi while getting on or off a bus, or of buses being hit by cars.
The rules of the road are very very clear on school bus safety. Quoting from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Website:
Drivers: know the rules
When driving on a road WITHOUT a median:
- drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
- when you approach the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
- don't move forward until the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move
When driving on a road WITH a median:
- traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.
Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing:
- First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points..
- Each following offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time (up to six months)
Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they weren't driving.
Reporting Drivers Who Don’t Stop
You can report a vehicle that doesn't stop properly for a school bus to police immediately by calling 911.
You can also go to the nearest police station and file a complaint. The police will ask you:
- The date and time of the incident.
- The vehicle's make, model, colour and licence number.
- Who was driving?
- Was the bus a "chrome yellow" school bus with the words "School Bus" at both the front and rear of the bus?
- Was it a small or a large school bus?
- Was the school bus stopped?
- Were the upper red lights of the school bus flashing while it was stopped?
- Were there passengers boarding or leaving the school bus?
- Did the vehicle pass the school bus from behind or was it coming toward the bus in the opposite lane?
Other details can also help, such as witness accounts or photographs.