School bus driver Carol Combs has seen children have to run to get out of the way of cars passing her buses. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Vancouver Islanders working on school bus safety

School kids don’t always think about cars when boarding or leaving a school bus: we do it for them

Safety in and around school buses might be focused on the kids, but the burden for keeping them safe falls largely on you.

Oct. 21-25 was National School Bus Safety Week and officials used it to showcase how they are working together students safe in, and around, school buses.

While busing is proven to be the safest form of transportation for students, the areas around buses can still be hazardous due to motorists’ careless behavior.

“Bus drivers continue to report that some impatient drivers are disregarding the students’ safety and are driving around our buses when they are stopped and have their lights and crossing arm activated,” School District 79 (Cowichan) communications officer, Mike Russell.

Bus driver Carol Combs, who’s been driving for the district 79 for 15 years agreed.

“I’ve had some pretty close calls. 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. I’ve seen kids have to run from a car,” Combs said.

“About three weeks ago I had a group of vehicles following behind a dump truck on my route. The dump truck was in the clear and free. He went past me. I deployed my lights and four vehicles went past me in a row,” she said.

The district has combined with North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP to combat this dangerous trend, with officers following buses and issuing tickets to those who put students at risk.

“Over the course of this project, officers wrote five tickets and one warning for failing to stop for school bus that carries a $368 fine,” Russell said. “This successful project is in the works again for this year.”

According to North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Pam Bolton, members from our Traffic Community Engagement Unit follow buses on their daily routes to make sure vehicles are not passing when the lights are on.

“Unfortunately we still are [doing so] and tickets are being issued. The fine is $358 and carries a three-point demerit.”

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

A class of primary students from Alex Aitken Elementary School got to join the fun Oct. 22, climbing on and off the bus several times for the cameras so reporters could get just the right pictures and video.

 

RCMP media relations officer Pam Bolton said it’s really worthwhile during School Bus Safety Week to remind motorists of the rules about passing school buses. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

School bus safety is the name of the game as RCMP, school district officials, and children demonstrate this week. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Motorists are asked to remember that when a child leaves a school bus, his mind may not be on nearby cars. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Students make their way towards a school bus at Alex Aitken School during a demonstration of bus safety issues. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Remember: not all students are thinking about you and your car as they leave a school bus. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

When school is out, a child’s not always thinking about cars on the road so obey the school bus lawa. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Children can be so excited when they jump off the school bus that they forget to watch for cars so motorists must watch for them. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

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