Kitchener-Waterloo

Stopped school buses passed 100 times a day in Waterloo Region

The general manager of Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region estimates drivers pass stopped buses in the region at least 100 times a day.
The consequences of passing a stopped school bus include being fined between $400 and $2000 for a first offence, with subsequent offences being between $1000 and $4000. An individual can also risk losing 6 demerit points on their driver's licence. (Shutterstock)

As students across the region head back to school, the Ontario Provincial Police are reminding drivers to stop when school buses are picking up passengers. A province-wide study conducted in May showed cars passed buses 151 times each day during a five day period.

However, Benoit Bourgault, the general manager of Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region, estimates in Waterloo Region alone, school buses are passed 100 times a day.

"It's distraction, it's people being in a hurry, frustrated because you're behind a school bus," said Bourgault. "When [the drivers] can record the licence plate they report it, it's not always possible."

The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario says when a school bus is stopped on the road with its red lights activated and "Stop" sign deployed, drivers must come to a complete stop in both directions. The owner of a vehicle can also be charged if their vehicle does not stop for a school bus, even if they were not driving it at the time.

Bourgault says one change that will soon be coming to school buses is the addition of an amber coloured light, which will help to let drivers know that a bus is slowing down.

Passing a stopped school bus can lead to some severe consequences. A driver or car owner can be fined between $400 and $2000 for a first offence, with subsequent offences being between $1000 and $4000. An individual can also risk losing six demerit points on their driver's licence. 

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