First day of school prompts safety reminder for drivers

School bus stopped on road. photo by Meghan Bond.

Area roads and sidewalks will be busier Tuesday morning with the return to school.

Sarnia police are reminding motorists that passing a school bus with its stop arm out will result in a fine.

Cst. John Sottosanti said buses will be on the road bright and early.

“I know that the bus drivers have also been taking licence plates of individuals that fail to stop for their lights and such, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the driver of the vehicle that’s charged, the owner of the vehicle can also be charged,” said Sottosanti.  “That way people can’t say ‘oh, you couldn’t identify the driver,’ well maybe, but we could identify the owner, and the owner is actually responsible for whosever driving to be a responsible driver.”

Sottosanti said police get weekly calls about drivers not stopping for school buses.  Failing to stop for a school bus with stop arm activated and lights flashing can result in a fine of $490 and six demerit points.

Sottosanti is also reminding motorists to watch out for crossing guards.

“As soon as you see a crossing guard stepping off the curb and onto the street, that’s your signal to make a stop, and even if it’s on the other side of the road still, please stop.  We will have officers enforcing areas of concern, and we don’t want to give out a ticket if we don’t have to.”

Parents are encouraged to remind their kids about staying on the sidewalks and looking both ways before crossing.  Wherever possible, cross the street where there is a crossing guard.  If there are no sidewalks, police recommend walking on the left-hand side of the road facing traffic.