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

Vacuum sparks fire in Fernwood basement

Crews extinguish small fire in Empress Avenue home

Victoria Humane Society takes revenue hit after donation bins vandalized

Organization removes clothing donation bins after contents removed, scattered

First Nations market fills Colwood’s Royal Beach

Event Wednesday in honour of Orange Shirt Day

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

Man arrested after speeding to Victoria court date for driving offence

West Shore RCMP remind drivers to be mindful of construction zones

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Ahead of likely second wave, 60% of Canadians relaxing COVID-19 measures

Proportion of Canadians not following safety measures has dropped by 3 per cent in the past two weeks

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Most Read