As students return to school, members of the Nipissing West Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are saying to motorists, Let’s Remember Adam and STOP for the School Bus.

The OPP advises drivers to always maintain an acute sense of awareness and be prepared for the unexpected when driving near schools and in neighbourhoods where school buses and school kids are present.

In accordance with the Highway Traffic Act, motorists encountering a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal lights have stopped flashing. This applies whether you are meeting or following a school bus, and includes multi-lane roads. The only exception is when driving on a road with a median – traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.

Fines range from $400 to $2,000, plus six demerit points for a first offence and from $1,000 to $4,000, plus six demerit points and possible jail time up to six months for each subsequent offence.

In Ontario, school bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus. If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, these same fines may be applied to you.

Drivers are also encouraged to:

  • Take extra care when driving by parked cars.
  • Be aware of school zones and reduce your speed.
  • Travel through intersections slowly.
  • Be patient as children cross the road.
  • Obey crossing guard instructions.
  • Make eye contact with the children wanting to cross at the intersection.
  • Obey all bus signals and never try to pass when they are stopped.
  • Give yourself extra travel time.

The OPP says, “Let’s all do our part to ensure children arrive at school and back home safely.”