Mississauga Council Endorses Bill to Increase School Bus Safety

When it comes to children crossing the road when the school bus comes to pick them up or drop them off home, there are always concerns around overall safety.

For drivers, when you see something like a giant yellow bus in front of you, most stop and check before proceeding on through, whether the bus' own red stop sign is flipped out or not. But for some, the frustration of being late boils over and it is instinctive for them to see if you can skirt around the big bus quickly and be on their way.

That's not only dangerous, but absolutely careless. But although the general consensus is that more should be done to raise awareness about bad behaviour, trusting people not to fall victim to their baser instincts is difficult. Perhaps if technology can be utilized in a proper way, such fatalities involving children crossing the road while they get off their school bus can be avoided. Which brings me to a recently introduced piece of legislation that seeks to leverage technology to enhance school bus zone safety, known as Bill 94.

Bill 94 makes it easier to get convictions for drivers who don’t stop when lights are flashing and the stop arm is down on a school bus. The Bill updates the Highway Traffic Act to provide clear rules on using photographic or video evidence obtained through school bus camera systems in order to penalize offenders.

The amendment bill went through First and Second Reading at the provincial legislature and is currently being studied in the Social Policy Committee. Mississauga City Council subsequently endorsed Bill 94 following their recent General Committee (GC) meeting. Council's resolution states that the City of Mississauga will work with the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of the Attorney General to assist on developing policy and regulations in support of Bill 94.

"Thousands of school children use over 900 school buses daily in the city of Mississauga. The pilot project shows that our children are being subjected to a high rate of risk of injury or fatality every time they exit school buses because a concerning number of drivers simply do not stop when school buses stop to let off. We must take action to reduce these incidences and increase safety for our children," Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement. "We cannot wait for serious injury or a fatality before we act. No parent or guardian should ever have to think about the safety of their child getting to and from school each day."

You know how just seeing a police car parked up ahead people instinctively slow down so they avoid getting a speeding ticket? If that works as well as it does right now, just think what would happen if drivers knew there were cameras recording them if they decide to illegally pass a school bus while it is parked picking up and dropping off kids? If it decreases such incidences, then it is definitely worth giving it a try.

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