Reminders issued in light of School Bus Safety Week

School bus stopped on road. BlackburnNews.com photo by Meghan Bond.

It has been just over a month since students returned to school and so far, Sarnia police say there have been fewer complaints regarding school bus safety compared to previous years.

Cst. John Sottosanti said although there have been some complaints of motorists failing to stop for school buses, it’s “nothing in comparison” to what has been noted in the past.

In recognition of School Bus Safety Week, Sarnia police are reminding drivers to stop for school buses when lights are flashing and its stop arm is deployed.

“Once the school bus’s lights turn off and it starts to move again and the stop arm is retracted, then you can continue on your journey,” said Sottosanti. “I know that it gets kind of frustrating, especially driving up Lakeshore Road when you’re behind a school bus and unfortunately it has to make numerous stops, so maybe replan your route.”

Drivers who fail to stop for a school bus could face a $490 fine and six demerit points. If the driver cannot be identified, Sottosanti said as long as the vehicle is identified, the owner of the vehicle may be fined as well.

Typically, Sarnia police receive complaints of this nature when the weather is nice, especially in the spring.

“Hopefully, people will continue to realize that it’s important for us to pay attention of our surroundings when we’re driving, especially in residential neighbourhoods where school buses make regular stops — even on busier streets like Indian Road and Murphy and such, it can be quite dangerous,” said Sottosanti.

The week of October 18 is recognized as National School Bus Safety Week. October 20th also marks School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

“We have a large group of professional drivers in our system that are long standing, that are dedicated to providing safe transport for kids,” said Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services (CLASS) General Manager Kent Orr. “We just want to make sure that we recognize the hard work and good work that they do every day.”

Orr said CLASS encourages schools, students, and parents and guardians to thank school bus drivers for their work as well.

CLASS provides bus transportation for more than 17,000 students across the Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent regions.