Halifax police warn against passing stopped school buses
Violators get $406.45 fine, 6 points against licence
There are too many drivers in Halifax who are passing school buses while their flashing lights are on, say Halifax Regional Police.
Parents in Bedford have complained about dangerous driving near stopped school buses, prompting police to station officers at Hammonds Plains Road and Killarney Drive almost every weekday morning since the beginning of the school year.
"We're concerned," said Const. Tracy MacDonald with the traffic services unit of the Halifax Regional Police.
MacDonald, who was one of three officers at the Bedford intersection on Wednesday morning, said police issue at least two to four tickets per day at the Hammonds Plains Road stop alone.
There have been 18 tickets issued in the past week at the intersection of Hammonds Plains Road and Killarney Drive, for drivers passing stopped school buses.
That's more tickets in one week than were issued in all of 2013 — 15 tickets for the entire Halifax Regional Municipality.
"Let the children on the bus and away you go. It would take five, 10 seconds a day to make that stop," said MacDonald.
"We have to almost be a big brother, if you will, and try to get people turned back on since the start of the school season."
Whether you're driving toward a stopped school bus or following behind one, drivers have to stop if the bus's flashing lights are on.
MacDonald said some drivers are unsure of whether to stop on a multi-lane street but the rule is still the same — when the school bus has flashing red lights, everyone must come to a stop.
"This rule has never changed," said MacDonald.
Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Halifax Regional Police officers pulled over two drivers.
Adam Hickey, who drops his eight-year-old son off at the bus stop, said he often wades into traffic to stop cars. He said he sees people breaking the law all the time.
"It's extremely dangerous here. It's really dangerous," he said.
"I've even seen them pass on the inside of the bus. People have excuses saying the sun is shining in their eyes, people have had issues of why they're passing a school bus. But the fact of the matter is it's a school bus, if you can't see you can't drive."
Officers say they've heard all kinds of excuses but it's a costly mistake. Violators receive a $406.45 fine and six points against their licence.
MacDonald said drivers need to pay attention.
"It only takes a split second for something terrible to happen, especially when we're dealing with elementary-aged children that are at the school bus — they're waiting, they're excited, they're running around," he said.
"It would take just a blink of an eye for something terrible to happen."