Crackdown coming on passing school bus

Children injured as drivers pass school buses with flashing lights and stop signs activated

School buses use a hinged stop sign as well as flashing amber and red lights to warn drivers to stop when students are getting on and off.

The B.C. government is preparing to increase penalties for drivers who pass school buses while children are getting on or off.

“We’ve had 14 children injured, thankfully none killed, in the last five years,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone. “There are still far too many motorists who are not getting the message of just how important it is to slow down in school zones and certainly not pass a school bus when the lights are flashing.”

Stone said school districts and local governments have been calling for increased penalties. Police in B.C. have issued 1,100 tickets for failing to stop for a school bus for the past five years, with 14 injuries during that time.

The current B.C. penalty is $167 fine and three demerit points, the same as disobeying a school crossing guard.

In Ontario, a first offence of passing a school bus results in a fine of $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points, and a second within five years can result in a fine of up to $4,000 and up to six months in jail.

New Brunswick has a $1,000 fine and loss of driver’s licence for every school bus offence.