The week of October 16 is School Bus Safety Week. In response to an alarming local, provincial and national trend, the theme of the week this year is Just Stop. Local bus operators are working with Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay to get the message out about school bus safety with a particular focus on stopping for school buses with flashing lights.
“All across the country, bus operators are reporting more and more instances of drivers not stopping for school buses with flashing lights,” says Craig Murphy, Manager of Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay. “Our bus operators do a great job in getting our students safely to and from school. But we also need the cooperation of everyone on the road to ensure student safety.”
During the week of October 2 to 6, local bus operators reported that there were 130 incidents of vehicles driving through flashing bus lights while the stop arm was extended.
According to The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook, “It is illegal to fail to stop for a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing. If you don’t stop, you can be fined $400 to $2,000 and get six demerit points for a first offence. If you are convicted a second time within five years, the penalty is a fine of $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points. You could also go to jail for up to six months. In Ontario, school-bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus. If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, these same fines, but not demerit points or jail time, may be applied to you.”
“We will continue to work with our bus operators and city and provincial police to ensure that every students gets to and from school safely every day,” says Murphy.
National School Bus Safety Week is a way for everyone – parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties – to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety.
For more information, please call Student Transportation Services Thunder Bay at 625-1660.