Drivers who ignore the stop arms on a school bus can get fined $2000 in Mississauga and Brampton
Published September 10, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Police, politicians and school bus drivers in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon are pleading with motorists to stop speeding by stopped school buses before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.
In a two-minute video posted to her Twitter page, Region of Peel Councillor Johanna Downey, who represents Ward 2 in Caledon, says school bus drivers in Peel experience an average of 20 “blow bys” per bus, per day. A “blow by” is when a driver ignores the stop arm and flashing red lights of a stopped school bus and instead illegally passes the bus, potentially endangering young students as they get on and off the vehicles.
In @regionofpeel, an average of 20 vehicles fail to stop for a school bus every day.
This number must change. Everyone has a part to play in protecting our precious cargo.@YourCaledon @regionofpeel @BusPatrol #CaledonOPP #peelpolice pic.twitter.com/MUwPHZt2bP
— Johanna Downey (@johanna_downey) September 9, 2021
“As a parent, I know the rate of speed that a car passes through a stopped bus signal can be the difference between life and death for a child,” Downey says on the video, which was retweeted by Peel Regional Police, OPP and municipal governments in Peel.
Norma Chammis, who drives a school bus in addition to duties as a safety supervisor and trainer, says the rules of the road regarding school buses are simple, and they can save lives.
“When you see this stop sign (and the red lights flashing), it doesn’t matter if kids are crossing or not crossing, you must stop for the school bus,” she said.
Added Jamie Dujo, school bus driver and trainer: “It’s time that people are accountable for their driving habits.”
In a Peel police three-day school zone awareness campaign across Mississauga and Brampton last week, 120 drivers were charged with various offences and another 107 cautions were issued, said Const. Benjamin Toriumi, of Road Safety Services.
And this week, as tens of thousands of children returned to school for fall classes, Toriumi said police took a zero-tolerance approach to school zone and stopped bus enforcement across Peel.
Downey said she hopes the new School Bus Stop Arm Cameras, introduced last year by Ontario’s ministry of transportation as another tool to ensure school zone and school bus safety, will dramatically reduce or eliminate the dangerous driving behaviour.
Toriumi echoed her sentiments.
“I hope this new tool deters motorists from illegally passing school buses and promotes safer drving,” he said.
The cameras can catch dangerous drivers in the act, and are also used to deter motorists from ignoring the flashing red lights of stopped school buses.
Drivers who ignore the flashing red lights and stop arms, and continue past the stopped bus, can be fined $400 to $2,000 for a first offence. First offenders may also lose six demerit points. Subsequent offences could cost drivers $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and up to six months in jail.
When a school bus has stopped and activated its flashing red lights, all vehicles travelling behind or approaching the bus must come to a complete stop before reaching it, police remind drivers.
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