Red means stop
No one ever plans to run over a child when they pass a school bus. The slogan is part of the 2013 School Bus Safety Campaign that includes the celebration of School Bus Safety Week next week in Nova Scotia.
© Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com
Const. Derek Hebert and Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department look over plans for School Bus Safety Week with Delbert Green, manager of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s Amherst bus depot.
AMHERST – No one ever plans to run over a child when they pass a school bus.
The slogan is part of the 2013 School Bus Safety Campaign that includes the celebration of School Bus Safety Week next week in Nova Scotia.
Locally, members of the Amherst Police Department and Cumberland RCMP will be holding a number of checkpoints near Amherst area schools to reinforce the message to exercise safety in school zones and to never pass a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing.
“Fortunately it’s not something we see every day. The majority of motorists are very mindful of school buses and what the red lights mean, but there’s always a couple that don’t abide by the rules of the road,” Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department said.
Const. Derek Hebert, the Amherst department’s school resource officer, said it only takes once incident to result in a disaster. He said police regularly watch for motorists stopping for school buses and said there have been instances in town when a driver passed a bus that was stopped with its lights flashing.
“Children are either getting on the bus thinking of their day ahead or they’re getting off the bus excited about the day being over,” Hebert said. “Often they’re not looking when they cross the road. That’s why it’s important to stop. It’s the law, but it’s also about safety.”
Studies have shown that the most dangerous part of the school bus ride for children is when they get on and off the bus. Law enforcement officials are reminding motorists to pay close attention to school buses as they are picking up and dropping off students.
Wood said one study in 2011 showed 231 incidents during one week in which motorists did not stop for Nova Scotia school buses.
Delbert Green, who manages the Amherst school bus depot for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, said there have been instances when motorists have ignored the flashing red lights.
“It’s not as bad for motorists who are behind the bus because when the bus stops, they stop. Sometimes what we see are motorists coming from the other direction, who don’t stop when the driver engages the lights,” Green said. “It’s hard for the bus driver to get a plate number because in Nova Scotia there are no licence plates on the front of vehicles.”
Failing to stop also comes with a hefty price tag. The penalty for illegally passing a school bus (first offence) is $399.91 plus six points against the licence.
Police will also be focusing enforcement efforts in the school zones, checking on speed. Wood said it’s important for motorists to remember that the speed is reduced to 30 km/h in a school zone when children are present.
In areas, such as around Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale, the speed limit is 60 km/h.