Sept. 4 marks the return to school for children, which means school buses will also be highly visible on area roadways. School bus safety and safe driving habits need to remain top of mind with the motoring public, parents, caregivers, students, crossing guards and bus operators as the school year begins, said police.
Motorists are reminded to keep a safe distance away from a stopped school bus with the red overhead lights flashing and stop arm extended. When following a school bus, Ontario law requires vehicles to stop 20 metres behind the bus.
When meeting a school bus in oncoming traffic, vehicles must stop far enough away to allow students to cross well ahead of the bus bumper. Vehicles must remain stopped in both directions until the school bus stop arm has been folded in again, and the overhead red lights have stopped flashing.
Drivers who fail to comply with this law face stiff financial penalties of between $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points. Subsequent offences can cost a driver anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 in fines plus possible imprisonment.
This law also includes that vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus.
Sudbury OPP detachment commander, Staff Sgt. Garry Mills, said school bus safety and the safety of all students travelling to and from school is a priority for the Ontario Provincial Police.
“Sudbury and Espanola detachment members will be on the roads and highways to ensure that motorists keep school bus safety in mind as the new school year begins,” he said.
For more information about school bus safety go to the Ministry of Transportation website at www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/schoolbus/smarts.shtml.