SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Concerned Island school bus driver says people still pass while red lights flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Kerry Zado is tired of seeing careless drivers breeze past his school bus while he picks up his students.

Although the stop sign on his bus is stuck out into the lane and the overhead lights are flashing, the problem still persists says the bus driver of seven years.

Last year, Zado would see two to three cars pass by without a care every day.

“Everyone’s always in a rush,” said the Mill Bay resident. “That kid crossing the street could be your child. Just leave five minutes earlier or later to avoid us. Otherwise, be ready to wait an extra minute.”

Zado works for School District 62, which serves Sooke and Greater Victoria’s West Shore. Each Sooke District school bus is equipped with a camera that records the view on the driver’s side during the entirety of a bus route. If someone passes, the bus driver presses a button to timestamp the footage.

The video is cross-referenced by school district staff who report license plates to West Shore RCMP and Sooke RCMP.

READ MORE: Sooke student hit by vehicle in high school crosswalk

A first offence costs $368, with penalty point premiums beginning with a second offence.

Last year, SD62 reached its goal of equipping every school bus with red light stop signs and cameras.

Whenever a school bus stops to pick up students, all traffic in both directions must stop. The only exception is a four-lane road where there is a median.

When overhead lights are flashing yellow on a school bus, that means a driver should prepare to stop.

When those same lights are red, all traffic must stop. Then, drivers can move forward when they see yellow hazard lights.

From 2009 to 2014, police across B.C. issued 1,100 tickets to drivers who passed a stopped school bus, according to a 2016 provincial study. Within that same time frame, 14 children were injured getting on or off a school bus.

“There’s nothing more valuable than a students life,” said Tracey Syrota, manager of SD62 transportation. “Running a red light is a risk that isn’t worth taking.”

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ALSO READ: Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District


 

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