School bus drivers concerned for kids safety

By Jessica Lepp
March 11, 2016 - 11:44am Updated: March 11, 2016 - 6:49pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops-Thompson School Board is relieved to hear the Province commit to tougher fines for those who don't stop for school buses.

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Jessica Lepp

B.C. Transportation Minister and Kamloops South-Thompson MLA Todd Stone has committed to strengthening enforcement for motorists caught passing school buses that have their warning equipment activated.

“Failing to stop puts children at risk, and this is a concern to all British Columbians,” said Todd Stone in a news release. “I have heard from school bus drivers, trustees and parents that the current penalty – a $167-fine and three demerit points – is not enough to deter drivers. Ministry staff have begun discussions with stakeholders, including the police, and we can expect changes to be in place before the end of the school year.”

That's music to the ears of Kamloops-Thompson School District officials, who asked Stone for the changes in a letter earlier this year.

Director of Facilities and Transportation Art McDonald says action must be taken.

"We fully support it. We want our students safe when they are loading, and unloading off the bus. Something needs to be done because we see fairly frequent violations of this, where the stop lights are out, children are loading, and unloading off the buses and vehicles just go right past the stop signs," said McDonald. 

One local bus driver told CFJC News he observes close calls with motorists at least a couple of times a month.

The current penalty for drivers who ignore the stop signs and flashing red lights is a $167 fine and three demerit points.

Between 2009 and 2014, police across the province issued 1,100 tickets for failing to stop for a school bus. 

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