Motorist blows past bus near Delhi



Police would like to speak with the driver of a white pickup that sped by a stopped school bus near Delhi this week.

The incident happened on Swimming Pool Road on Monday morning. The bus’s red signal lights were flashing. As well, the “Stop” arm on the side was engaged.

“This was a very dangerous act that could have had fatal consequences if an innocent child had been crossing the roadway,” Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP said in a news release. “Police remind all drivers to slow down and pay attention to the roadway.”

Motorists in both directions are required to come to a full stop when they encounter a school bus with its red signal lights flashing. They are not to proceed until the bus disengages its signal lights.

Fines for violating this law range from $400 to $2,000 for a first offence. Fines for subsequent offences range from $1,000 to $4,000. There is also the possibility of jail time for subsequent offences.

The Highway Traffic Act also levies six demerit points for passing a school bus when its signal lights are flashing.

“The law is in place to protect our most valuable resource – young children,” Sanchuk said. “Passing a stopped school bus is not only against the law, it is a potentially lethal decision. Taking a few extra minutes behind a stopped school bus can prevent the life-long regret of injuring or killing a child.”

Careless drivers aside, riding a school bus is extremely safe. The Norfolk OPP says 800,000 students a day in Ontario are transported to school by bus. These buses travel a combined 1.9 million kilometres a day. Mishaps are rare.

Most injuries to students involving school buses occur while children are getting on or leaving. While motorists bear a heavy responsibility for child safety, students should develop habits to promote their own well-being. These include:

• Be at the bus stop on time.

• Wait for the bus in a safe place well back from the road.

• Do not play in ditches or on road-side snow banks.

• No horseplay or rough-housing on the bus. Stay in your seat and keep noise to a minimum so the driver can concentrate on the road.

• Do not dangle your head or limbs outside the window.

• When you exit the bus, step away from the vehicle. If you can touch the side of the bus as you walk away, you are too close.

• If you drop something in the area of a moving bus, do not attempt to retrieve it until the bus has left. If you drop something under the bus, never attempt to retrieve it yourself. Ask the driver for assistance.

There is also a right way and a wrong way for students to navigate streets and roadways.

After exiting the bus and having to cross the road, start at a point at least 10 paces in front of the bus. Look to the driver to give you an all clear before proceeding to the opposite shoulder.

As well, students should be trained at a young age to always look both ways before crossing the road. Students should always proceed cautiously before crossing and never do so while running.

“The greatest risk our kids face is not while riding the bus but rather approaching it or leaving it,” Insp. Shawn Nash, interim commander of the Norfolk OPP, said in a news release. “We want everyone to stay alert and to drive safely. Don’t risk injury and value everyone’s safety.”