School Bus Safety Being Disregarded

Photo Credit: CBC

I’ve been contacted by a school bus driver sharing some very disturbing information. The driver is asking me to help create awareness around the laws related to the critical need for drivers to stop – when a school bus is dropping off or picking up students.  According to his reports, more and more people are not stopping when he picks up and drops off children and this is creating very dangerous situations.

Many students live in apartments and condos along Pembina Highway. Multiple school buses are stopping along Pembina to either pick up or drop off students – and vehicles must stop when the school bus has lights flashing and the stop arm is extended.

  • Pembina Trails School Division school buses – which travel many roads in South Winnipeg, are equipped with red light/stop arm cameras. The cameras can capture the license plates of vehicles that do not stop for the flashing red school bus lights. The video will then be shared with the Winnipeg Police Service.
  • I have submitted a request to the Winnipeg Police Service to increase enforcement along Pembina Highway during pick up and drop off timeframes.
  • Violators may face a warning or a fine over $650 and two demerits.

I am concerned this driving behaviour may be occurring on other roads where school buses are dropping off or picking up children.

Please read the rules as related to school buses in the driver’s handbook.

Chapter 6 – Manitoba Public Insurance Driver’s Handbook SEE: School Buses

School buses make frequent stops as passengers enter and leave. Children getting on or off the bus may not be paying attention to the traffic around them. As a driver, it is your responsibility to pay close attention and keep children safe when you are near a school bus.

When a bus displays flashing overhead amber lights, it is about to stop to load or unload students. You must slow down and prepare to stop.

  • It is illegal to pass from either direction when the bus displays flashing red lights and the stop arm extends from the left side.
  • You must stop at least five metres from the bus.
  • You must remain stopped until the flashing overhead red lights are turned off and the stop arm is folded in.

You are not required to stop if travelling in the opposite direction on a divided roadway separated by a physical median or ditch.

A double solid line is not considered a physical separation.

Illegally passing a school bus results in a large fine and moves you down the Driver Safety Rating scale. Be cautious around school buses, and always stop when a bus’s red lights are flashing.