Editorial: What to do when you see a school bus?

The Basic License Driver’s Handbook has the following to say on school bus dangers: “The greatest danger to the safety of students on a school bus happens when motorists pass a bus while it is loading or unloading students.”

So what does that mean?

It means you stop.

It’s truly not that difficult, and the Alberta Basic Handbook spells it out in a few words – too many for a tweet, but not too many for a Facebook post. Feel free to share these words there:

“When approaching a school bus from either direction [on an undivided highway], check to see if the bus operator has turned on the alternating flashing amber lights. If they are on, you must be ready to stop. Once the bus comes to a stop to load or unload students, its alternating flashing red lights will come on. You may also see a stop sign extended from the left-hand side of the bus. You must come to a complete stop before you reach the school bus.”

It does not say you should stop, possibly stop, maybe stop, or stop if you feel so inclined.

It says you MUST stop.

Now, one would think this should be common knowledge to anyone who has been given the privilege to drive a motor vehicle.

Yet we see time and time again on the various Facebook venting pages that someone slowed but didn’t stop, or they drove right past when the little red stop sign was extended and in plain sight. We saw it again yesterday in the comments section of our article on intersection safety, which is another area of driving people can’t seem to wrap their heads around.

The fine for passing a school bus is $543 and six demerits. If that is not incentive enough to perhaps get up a little earlier, stay a little more focused, and obey an important traffic safety law, then perhaps giving consideration to the tragic circumstances that failing to obey the law could bring might.

The buses may be cancelled most days this week, but they’ll be back on the roads. Slow down and take the time to make sure everyone arrives at their destination safely, and please do not pass school buses when you see little red stop signs or flashing red lights.

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  1. Thank you for this!!! As a bus driver it happens more than most would like to admit. I’ve been told that it didn’t look like i was doing anything, or I didn’t see it, or just plain gotten yelled at for bringing it to their attention. It is for the safety of our kids, solely that reason. We don’t like to hold up traffic, but that is a part of our job. Thank you for the article.

  2. My question is… when a bus is pulled over with just a signal light flashing… do we stop? I see this all the time! I will always stop… but I’ve gotten other drivers annoyed with me… wondering if I’m supposed to go?

  3. The very idea that this needs to be posted is all I need to know about the logic and common sense amongst the masses!

    Tip: Teach your child about the”stupid” early! They will live a better and safer life once they accept it. :/

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