The first annual Operation Safe Stop took place on Oct. 21 just beside Spirit Square, in Fort St. James.
“This project is partnered with various organizations including School District No. 91, the RCMP, and ICBC,” said Joy Reierson, a school bus driver in Fort St. James.
“This is designated as a provincial campaign with 60 other school districts also taking part all across British Columbia.”
Reierson and fellow bus driver, Frances Honeywell, were on hand to hand out information on bus safety as well as answer any questions.
“Lots of people are unaware when it comes to the lights and what they mean on a school bus,” Honeywell said.
“And when a school bus says stop, it really means stop.”
When overhead lights are flashing yellow, prepare to stop. When overhead lights are flashing red, Stop. When hazard lights are flashing yellow, proceed with caution.
And school bus penalties and fines continue to escalate according to Honeywell.
In British Columbia, there are approximately 2,790 school buses licenced in the province transporting thousands of children every school day.
From 2009 to 2104, police issued 1,100 tickets to drivers who passed a stopped school bus.
And from 2009 to 2014, 14 children were injured on or off a school bus.
“All in all, it’s about keeping our kids safe,” Reierson said.
According to the Nechako Lakes School District No. 91, students and parents have a number of responsibilities when it comes to school bus safety.
– Students are required to follow all directions given by the bus driver and respect their decisions.
– Talk quietly and use appropriate language.
– Keep hands, feet and other objects to yourself.
– No throwing of any objects.
– Students must remain seated while bus is in motion.
– Horseplay, either on or off the bus, is prohibited.
– Smoking, drugs and alcohol are prohibited.
– Unregistered students are not allowed on the bus without written permission.
– When loading the bus, wait until the driver has indicated it is safe to approach the bus.
– When crossing the road, wait until the driver has indicated it is safe to cross.
– Ensure your child arrives at the bus stop at least 15 minutes before the arrival of the bus to avoid rushing to catch it.
– Make sure you arrive at the pick-up point before the scheduled drop-off time.
– Remind your child to stay 3 metres away from danger zones including front, back and sides of the bus.
– Remind your child to stand 5steps away from the road.
For more information about school bus safety, visit: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/tp-tp2436-rs200407-menu-130.htm