South Cowichan Community Policing has stepped up with dashboard cameras for school buses in that area. It’s terrible — that this is needed.
The reason they are needed is that a huge number of people, either deliberately or through inattention, are ignoring school bus stop signs — you know, those red, octagonal signs that extend out from the side of school buses when they come to a stop and let children off. These signs tell motorists to stop, because there could be children coming around the front of the bus to cross the street. Ignoring them is like pulling out around a car that has stopped at a crosswalk — both dangerous and stupid.
How big a problem is this? In a story in our Wednesday edition of the Citizen we gave you the numbers: an average of at least two cars per day are blowing that stop sign in the school district. The number was calculated from 18 school days in November when bus drivers reported 42 instances of people disregarding the bus stop signs. Forty-two in just 18 days. We hope those numbers, at least, have made a few more people pause.
If you’re one of the people who did not stop for a school bus sign by accident, it’s time to take a serious look at why you’re so distracted while you’re driving and remedy the problem.
If you’re one of the people who did not stop for a school bus sign on purpose, you need consider what you could possibly have believed was so important that you endangered the lives of children for it. You were in a hurry? Not good enough. You roll through stop signs all the time and nothing bad happens? You’re a bad driver. You didn’t see any kids? You’re not infallible.
Stop signs are there for a reason. They’re actually there to help you. They give you a minute to pause in a spot where visibility for your next move is poor if you don’t.
Think about what you’re risking for the sake of passing the school bus and maybe saving a few extra seconds on your trip. There cannot possibly be anything so important that it’s worth a dead or seriously injured child.