Video of traffic whizzing past school bus prompts RCMP investigation
Police and Transportation Department will step up patrols on Route 2 in Brookfield
A video of traffic zooming past as a P.E.I. school bus stops while children wait is "disconcerting" and shows "absolutely unacceptable behaviour," say RCMP, who are launching an investigation into the incident.
Claude McNeill shot the video Monday morning at the urging of his wife Madeline McNeill. The couple, who live on Route 2 in Brookfield, P.E.I., said they have watched vehicles blast past buses that pick up their grandchildren, ages seven and 14, all school year.
They shared the video on social media to what Madeline told CBC News was "a huge response."
The couple also sent it to RCMP and the P.E.I. Department of Transportation.
"It's very disconcerting to see that type of behaviour when children are involved," said RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler.
When somebody goes through the bus lights when children are getting on a bus, that's absolutely unacceptable behaviour.- RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler
"There's children involved and their safety, so when somebody goes through the bus lights when children are getting on a bus, that's absolutely unacceptable behaviour."
Butler said the rule that vehicles must stop is clearly posted on the buses.
"And, you know, it's common sense. If red lights are flashing and cars are stopped, you stop too. I can't stress enough. It's children's safety that's on the line here … So slow down, be prepared to stop, and if the red lights are flashing, stop."
Butler said police will also follow up with the bus driver and will set up more patrols in the area.
"We try to do morning patrols anyway. Our members often specifically go out to follow buses or go into school zones in the morning to try to deter that sort of behaviour. But we will step up patrols in that area also after seeing the video."
It would be a challenge to fine any of the drivers on the video because it would be hard to identify drivers and licence plates, said Butler.
"It can be a challenge. Sometimes in rural P.E.I., people will know who the driver is, or if the bus driver is able to get the plate from the vehicle, we'll work with that."
Butler didn't have any numbers on how often Islanders are fined for passing bus with lights flashing. The minimum fine is $1,000 plus a loss of eight demerit points with the potential for up to a $5,000 fine at the court level.
Transportation Minister Paula Biggar said her department plans to have some staff members park along Route 2 over the next few days to assess the problem. The department will also work with the English Language School Board and RCMP to address the issue, said Biggar.
She said the department may consider putting up signs along the highway warning to watch for buses.