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Mayors and RDEK Directors to Further Discuss School Bus Safety

Municipal leaders in the East Kootenay will be discussing potential ways to increase school bus safety, in the wake of last week’s serious collision involving a semi, a motorhome, and a school bus.

At the Regional District of East Kootenay on Friday, Sparwood Mayor David Wilks suggested that they look at ways to potentially improve awareness and attempt to prevent similar types of accidents from happening in the future.

With School District 5 and School District 6 utilizing highways to pick up and drop off students around the East Kootenay, Wilks said they need to provide as much help as possible.

“When you’re stopping on a major highway, such as Highway 3, we’ve got to give them every advantage we can to the school bus drivers.”

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Thursday’s serious collision closed Highway 3 for almost 10 hours as RCMP said a semi-truck struck the back of a motorhome that was stopped for a school bus near Hosmer. Both students on the school bus were uninjured although STARS Air Ambulance was dispatched to Lynch Road as the driver of the motorhome suffered serious injuries. His current condition remains unknown.

Background: Serious Collision Between Semi, Motorhome, School Bus (September 5, 2019)

Although the motorhome was stopped behind the school bus and potentially blocking the view of the semi in Thursday’s collision, Wilks said they can still do more to increase safety.

One of Wilks’ suggestions was that school buses potentially be equipped with similar light systems as new police and emergency vehicles.

“The new LED light bars that they have, boy they grab your attention, and they grab your attention from far away,” Wilks told .”Maybe that’s something we look at on regulations for school buses, that they all have to have light bars on front and back that really get the attention of those that are driving on the highways.”

As well, Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt suggested the idea of potentially having flashing light warning systems like some pedestrian crossings, and having those implemented and trigger when a school bus is stopped ahead.

Igniting the conversation at the RDEK, Wilks said he would further the discussion with the B.C. Government at the upcoming UBCM (Union of B.C. Municipalities) Convention in Vancouver September 23rd to 27th. Wilks said he would also bring the topic back for discussion at the RDEK level in October to see if any potential solutions could be implemented.

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