A Halifax father says he's concerned about sending his son back to school this year because of drivers failing to stop for school buses with red flashing lights.

It's a rampant problem in Nova Scotia, where the Nova Scotia School Boards Association said drivers failed to stop 1,500 times last year alone.

"I'm disgusted that people actually do that," said parent Patricio Garcia. "These are kids getting on the bus." 

In Nova Scotia, when a school bus has its red lights flashing, traffic must come to a stop in both directions. Drivers can only resume once the red lights have been turned off.

Impatient drivers

Garcia's seven-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum, boards a bus directly in front of their home in the Rockingham area of Halifax. Garcia said he witnessed drivers in both directions failing to stop when lights were flashing and the stop-arm was extended. 

"We had people that would lay on the horn when they were behind the bus," said Garcia. "Some would pass the bus just as the bus was stopping."

school bus

In Nova Scotia, when a school bus has its red lights flashing, traffic must come to a stop in both directions and can only resume once the lights have been turned off. (CBC)

He said he's concerned his son might get hit by a vehicle.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said drivers on the road are frequently distracted, whether from daily stress or texting while driving. 

"People are in a rush. Far too often, we see people not slowing down," said Hutchinson.

He said the cases are difficult to investigate because it's challenging for witnesses to gather information, such as full licence plate numbers and the make and model of a vehicle as it's speeding by.

Hefty fines

The maximum fine for failing to stop for a school bus with flashing lights is $1,272.50.

Nova Scotia School Boards Association spokesperson Trish Smith said putting more cameras on buses would help, but she said the $3,500 cost per camera is a barrier.

Smith said boards are ensuring buses with cameras are assigned to routes with higher numbers of violations.