CUT: Bus driver Shirley Stanley joined policemen (from left) Tom Wood/APD, Kenny John Jackson/SPD, Dal Hutchinson/RCMP and Derek Hebert/APD to launch a bus safety campaign. Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News
HL: School bus safety
SUBHL: Police tell motorists to stop
By Eric Sparling
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST – If Shirley Stanley’s message to incautious drivers could be summed up in two words, they might be, Back off! And area police want the same message to reach careless drivers.
Stanley loves “everything” about her job as a bus driver: the kids, being out on the road, new things every day.
“Not very often,” she said, when asked how frequently she’ll almost have an accident or ‘near misses’ with careless drivers. But that doesn’t mean all drivers get a thumbs up for safety.
Amherst and Springhill police departments, as well as the RCMP, participated in a provincial School Bus Safety Awareness Campaign at the start of the school year.
“It’s a serious offense,” said Springhill policeman Kenny John Jackson.
He was referring to disobeying the flashing red lights and stop signs on school buses.
When the sign is deployed and the lights are flashing, all traffic from both directions – regardless of the number of lanes – must stop, according to Jackson.
“It boils down to inattention…,” he said.
After the summer, according to Jackson, drivers have become unaccustomed to stopping for buses. Police used unmarked cars to target lawbreakers as part of the campaign.
No surprise, two of Stanley’s three pet peeves when she’s trying to safely shuttle children to school involved disobeying bus signals: driving through the red lights and stop signs on the bus; and drivers who start slowly rolling forward before the stop signs have retracted and the lights have turned off.
“What do you save…three seconds by inching closer? Stay back,” she said.
The third pet peeve was tailgaters. ‘Stay back’ would probably be her advice for that one, too.