Number of vehicles passing stopped school buses concerning
Dartmouth, NS - School boards across the province are reporting high numbers of traffic violations as motorists pass school buses stopped with red lights flashing and stop signs extended on a daily basis. From September 1 to February 29, 2016, there were over 1100 reported school bus red light violations in Nova Scotia. Every day there are over 82,000 students travelling across the province on 1129 school buses.
As per the Motor Vehicle Act, drivers of a vehicle must stop and not pass a school bus with flashing red lights, and shall remain stopped until the school bus proceeds. Drivers approaching a school bus from both directions, regardless of the number of lanes, must stop.
"School board members throughout Nova Scotia raised this as a very serious concern last spring during the Nova Scotia School Boards Association Annual General Meeting. Since then, we have been working to raise awareness of school bus red light violations, and collecting data from school boards," said Susan Ritchie, President of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association. "It is important that everyone comes together to understand the seriousness of this issue."
School buses have been equipped with cameras on the stop sign arms to collect the necessary information for law enforcement to issue tickets. The fine for a school bus red light violation is $410 and six demerit points for a first offence.
"Every day our school bus drivers make student safety their top priority. To have motorists pass a stopped school bus is very concerning for everyone," says Denise Crouse, Chair of the Nova Scotia Pupil Transportation Advisory Committee. "When a school bus is stopped, with red lights flashing and the stop sign arm extended, students are either getting on or off the bus. The school buses remain stopped for students to cross the road if necessary, and if a motorist passes at this time, a student could be seriously injured."
The Nova Scotia School Boards Association and the Nova Scotia Pupil Transportation Advisory Committee have been working together with Safety Services Nova Scotia, the provincial government and law enforcement to raise awareness of this issue. In October students will have an opportunity to participate in raising awareness through School Bus Safety Week and the annual Student Video Contest.
With changing road and visibility conditions during the early spring months, driver attention is especially important. Vehicles are given notice of a school bus preparing to stop with the display of flashing amber lights. The flashing red lights come on when the bus has come to a complete stop.
Video footage of motorists passing stopped school buses on Nova Scotia roads can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/NSSBA2012
For further information, contact:
Trish Smith – Communications Manager
Follow us on Twitter: @NSschoolboards #StopForTheSchoolBus