How one mother got creative when teaching school bus safety

For Islander Kelly Yeo, the recent news stories about people illegally passing school buses have been particularly troubling.

'It just blows my mind how people can just pass through'

Zachary, the family’s Elf on the Shelf along with Peppa Pig came together to demonstrate safe crossing for Kelly Yeo’s daughter. (Kelly Yeo)

For Islander Kelly Yeo, the recent news stories about people illegally passing school buses have been particularly troubling.

And it inspired her to teach her daughter a lesson on safety — with the help of Zachary, the family's Elf on the Shelf.

"It just blows my mind how people can just pass through," Yeo said.

Yeo's four-year-old daughter Rylee doesn't take a school bus in the morning yet but the Kensington native wanted to start teaching her daughter traffic safety early.

Some of the offenders who passed Kelly Yeo's daughter's toy school bus, doing some hard time, during a lesson on school bus safety. (Submitted by Kelly Yeo)

Zachary the elf

Zachary, the family's Elf on the Shelf, along with Peppa Pig came together to demonstrate safe crossing for Yeo's daughter — but not without incident.

Some of the toys did end up passing the school bus in their car. Yeo's daughter promptly wrote them a "big ticket" and sent them to jail so they could learn their lesson.

"Next year she'll be on a school bus and I want to teach her to always look both ways and always to be careful,' she said.  

They should be caught and they should be punished for it.- Kelly Yeo

P.E.I. drivers will now lose their licence for a time if they illegally pass a school bus.

Yeo is encouraged by the province's decision.

"It's time now that action should be taken because it's ridiculous that people are still passing them. They should be caught and they should be punished for it," she said.   

'It's scary'

Previously, the punishment was typically a fine of $1,000 and eight demerit points, with a maximum possible fine of $5,000.

Those fines were already the highest in the country, according to a document tabled in the legislature by Minister of Transportation Paula Biggar last November. The next highest were in Nova Scotia, ranging from $697.50 to $2,422.50. Second offences in Ontario could lead to a $4,000 fine and possible jail time.

"It's a scary thing knowing that she's going to be on the bus next year and I'm always going to have that concern that somebody's going to pass the school bus," Yeo said.

For a suspended licence on P.E.I. to be reinstated, drivers will need to meet with highway safety officials, pay a $100 reinstatement fee and take a defensive driving course within six months of getting their licence back.

Drivers will then be on probation and if they receive any demerit points within a year of reinstatement, their licence will be suspended.

Yeo wants to encourage other parents to find ways to teach their children about school bus safety as well.

"Teach them to always be careful with school buses. I know that's what I'm going to teach my daughter."

The new measures regarding school buses will come into effect Dec. 8.

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Sam Juric

Web Writer

Sam Juric is a journalist with CBC P.E.I.