Editorial: What to do when you see a school bus

School is back in less than two weeks – let’s stop for the busses.

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 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 since you cannot share the article:

“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, this should be common knowledge to anyone given the privilege to drive a motor vehicle. Yet we repeatedly see 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.

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

Kids are going back to school in less than two weeks. 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 Comment

  1. Except on 100 St and 100 Ave where starting this fall school busses are not permitted to put their flashing lights on during pickup. Town council says this is for safety during rush hours.

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