Cranbrook RCMP said they have received nine complaints of vehicles not stopping for school buses since the school year began, two of which occurred Tuesday morning.
Cst. Katie Forgeron said they received seven complaints in the month of September, five of which were captured on camera from School District 5’s bus cameras. The five incidents captured on camera showed vehicles passing school buses that were stopped with their red lights flashing.
“Even if you’re coming towards a school bus, you’re supposed to stop, it’s not just for vehicles that are behind the bus that want to pass it, that want to get around it, it’s every single vehicle on the roadway must stop when the red lights and stop sign are out,” Forgeron told MyEastKootenayNow.com.
Cranbrook RCMP says the majority of the complaints were from vehicles that were travelling in the opposite direction of the school buses. Forgeron said regardless of travel direction, all vehicles must stop for a school bus with red flashing flights and its stop sign out.
“It’s hugely scary, especially on the highway,” added Forgeron. “I’ve followed buses a couple of times on the highway and kids are coming out from the roadway and having to cross the highway to get on to the bus so we’re just really concerned about the drivers not paying attention and not listening to the rules.”
Under the Motor Vehicle Act, a driver can be fined $368 for passing a stopped school bus. Forgeron said they mostly gave warnings in September to try and help enforcement, but will now be issuing immediate tickets to offenders that don’t obey the traffic law.
“A lot of the buses in School District 5 are equipped with cameras and they are able to get great video of these vehicles not stopping for the buses,” said Forgeron. “The School District is really trying to increase the safety of the children so we’re working in partnership with them and hopefully we can get the motor vehicle travelling public to just stop passing school buses.”
Forgeron said the majority of the drivers she spoke with that didn’t obey the rules in September weren’t aware that vehicles in the opposite direction also had to stop.
“We want to remind every driver that all vehicles need to stop to ensure the safety of the students getting on or off the bus.”