Robert’s column

Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: School bus rules should be respected

Motorists must NEVER pass a school bus with its stop lights flashing.

It appears that for many in the Valley, a $358 fine and a three-point demerit on their driver’s licence is not a deterrent to disregarding school bus stop signs.

School District 79 reported last week that over the course of 18 school days in November, bus drivers have reported a staggering 42 occasions where motorists have paid no attention to school bus stop signs.

That’s an average of at least two a day within the district; which is a totally unacceptable number.

I remember that the rules for drivers around schools buses, and the fact that motorists must NEVER pass a school bus with its stop lights flashing, were highlighted when I took my driver’s test many years ago.

There’s a very good reason for that.

Those schools buses are carrying the most precious things in many people lives, as well as the future of our society.

But the youngsters on board are typically inexperienced and impetuous, and are not fully aware of the dangers that cars and traffic bring.

That’s why the law puts the onus on the motorists, who are supposed to be adults who have passed a number of written and active driving tests to be on the road in the first place, to ensure the safety of the children who take the bus to school every day.

I’ve said it already but it bears repeating for those who just don’t get the message; motorists must NEVER pass a school bus with its stop lights flashing.

The police have even made a children’s rhyme so drivers will have an easier time remembering that simple rule.

Take note of the bus slowing, watch for the lights to flash, and then, “if the lights are flashing, don’t be passing”.

I shuddered last month when I read a story by intrepid reporter Lexi Bainas in which she interviewed school bus driver Carol Combs, who’s been driving for the local district for 15 years, who told her that she had seen some pretty close calls in that time.

“I’ve had to use my air horns to get the kids to jump and get back into the bus and out of the way of the traffic,” Combs said.

“I’ve seen kids have to run from cars.”

That’s truly frightening and I can only imagine the heartbreak for everyone even distantly involved with any child who is injured or (heaven forbid) killed by some impatient and ignorant driver who felt the laws didn’t apply to them.

Last week, South Cowichan Community Policing announced the organization is donating 11 dashboard cameras for south-end school buses to help combat the disturbing trend of people disregarding school bus rules.

The aim of the cameras is to help provide RCMP with the evidence required to identify and ticket the offending drivers.

As well, late last year, the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP had officers following buses and issuing tickets to those who put students at risk.

Over the course of the project, officers wrote five tickets and one warning for failing to stop for school bus, and that project is in the works again for this year.

It would seem to me that common sense and a desire not to hurt harmless children would be enough of an incentive.

But, unfortunately, it appears the only thing that many people understand are harsh penalties.

If that’s what’s required to protect our children, bring it on.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

‘It was a great week for Jan Pullinger, MLA. She accompanied Andrew Petter, the new Minister of Health to Lake Cowichan. He credited her with saving the Youbou mill. Left to right, Jan, Petter and Sam Beldessi, president of the Cowichan Seniors. Pullinger and Petter were visiting the Seniors’ Centre.’ (Lake News, March 6, 1996)
Lake Flashback: A new library, Peewee sports, and a resignation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read