Drivers in Sooke frequently pass school buses, even though their stop signs have been deployed. The practice puts children at risk and will result in a $369 fine. (Black Press Media)

Sooke drivers regularly disregard school bus stop signs

Scofflaw drivers put precious cargo at risk

Ken Hales is a retired RCMP officer who these days drives school bus No. 13 in Sooke.

After several years of ensuring the children in his charge make it to school safely, Hales is speaking out.

“People see the stop sign on a school bus, and far too often they just blow by the bus, not caring that they are putting children at risk,” Hales said.

ALSO READ: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

“It really is a miracle – amazing luck – that a child hasn’t been seriously hurt or even killed by one of these drivers.”

School buses are equipped with stop signs, complete with flashing lights, that extend from the bus when they are stopped to either load or unload children at designated locations along their route. Motorists on both sides of the roadway are required by law to stop and remain stopped until the stop sign is folded back, signalling that it it’s safe to proceed.

“The basic rule is, ‘when we stop, you stop,’ said Tracy Syrota, the transportation manager for the Sooke School District.

“Kids are unpredictable. You might see children lined up at the passenger side of the bus, but there may also be a child who is running late who will dart across the road to that bus, thinking that they’re safe.”

But those children are not safe.

Speaking on Thursday, Syrota said after only three days of school, there have already been nine reported instances in Sooke of drivers ignoring school bus stop signs and passing the buses, heedless of the risk they pose to the community’s children.

But those drivers are in for a rude awakening.

“Our buses are almost all equipped with cameras now. They capture the offence as well as a video of the car that passes a bus,” Syrota said.

That film (along with a still photo of the license plate) is provided to the RCMP who in turn will be paying a visit to the scofflaw drivers to present them with a violation under Section 149 of the Motor Vehicle Act. The ticket will cost the driver $369 and will result in three points on the driver’s record.

“It (passing a school bus) is a very dangerous and irresponsible thing to do,” said Sgt. Clayton Wiebe of the Sooke RCMP.

“We’re aware of a few areas, like Grant Road, for example, where it can be a real problem and we monitor those areas when we can. But the cameras have really helped in enforcement.”

Hales, however, isn’t convinced that the fines are enough to deter drivers from their reckless behaviour.

“People just pay the fine and get on with life. What needs to happen is that this offence should result in an automatic license suspension for a month,” Hales said.

“Otherwise, this is just going to keep happening. until someone is killed.”

While Syrota shares the frustration of her bus drivers, she believes the key is education.

“We have to educate motorists about the law and make them understand that these children are truly a precious cargo. There is just no excuse for putting them at risk, just to save a minute or two on a drive.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Camosun College to produce more than 9,000 face shields for Island Health workers

An innovative new design will allow for mass production of face shields for use across Canada

West Shore RCMP search for man wanted on 15 outstanding warrants

Steven Sandhu is believed to be living in View Royal

VicPD reunites four-year-old boy with family after he snuck out a window

The boy was spotted wandering alone on Wednesday morning

Cycling advocates call for more pedestrian space, temporary bike lanes during pandemic

An increase in foot traffic means transportation needs to be prioritized, advocates say

COVID-19: More than 120,000 B.C. food service jobs lost, restaurants begin to shutter permanently

Restaurants Canada estimates $3 billion sales drop due to pandemic

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Most Read