Police in the Halifax area are reminding motorists to stop for school buses that have stopped with their lights activated, after handing tickets to almost 40 drivers that failed to do so this month. 

"We're hoping people get the message to slow down when you see a school bus, stop when its red lights are on. It's important to keep our children safe," said Cpl. Dal Hutchinson at a traffic stop Friday in Porters Lake. 

Halifax RCMP say they have issued one ticket for illegally passing a school bus in September, while Halifax Regional Police have issued 38 tickets. 


RCMP conducted traffic stops Friday to remind drivers to move over for emergency vehicles and stop for school buses when the lights are flashing. (CBC)

Last April, the province's school boards association reported there were approximately 1,100 incidents province wide in which drivers failed to stop for a school bus that had its red lights flashing and stop sign deployed.

The traffic stops carried a double-barrelled message as they came the same week as the funeral for RCMP Cst. Frank Deschênes, who was killed while stopped on the side of a highway in New Brunswick to help stranded motorists.

'It's a dangerous thing'

"It's something that we all have experienced on our highways here in Nova Scotia, all police officers have come close to being struck while performing their duties," said Hutchinson. "It's a dangerous thing that we have to do by pulling over a vehicle on the side of the highway and getting out to ensure things are okay." 

Hutchinson says the message is to give emergency vehicles a wide berth when they're on the side of the highway and to stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

A first offence under the Motor Vehicle Act for driving past a stopped school bus carries a $410 fine and six demerit points on the driver's licence. For subsequent offences, the fine increases to $1,272.50.

Drivers can also be charged for passing a bus that has its amber warning lights flashing. The fine for failing to pass with caution carries a $295 fine.

With files from Blair Rhodes