It was 21 years ago today Mattawa's Adam Ranger was fatally struck by a vehicle after its driver did not stop for the flashing lights nor the extended stop arm of the five-year-old boy's school bus on Highway 17.
In memory of Adam, Pierre Ranger continues to advocate for school bus safety through the Let's Remember Adam campaign and has made it his life's mission to prevent such a tragedy to afflict another family.
Tuesday, Ranger made a virtual presentation before North Bay City Council, outlining why the city should join the ranks of municipalities — like Mattawa — using stop-arm camera technology to identify those who do not stop for the school bus.
"I'm a huge supporter of anything that's going to make it safer to get children to and from school," stated Ranger. "I've spent years trying to get drivers to understand the importance of stopping for the school bus with billboards, bumper stickers, and our message. Nothing seemed to work."
Until now. "Making them have to pay for not stopping for the school bus in a faster, more efficient way like these stop-arm cameras can do is a way we can get our message across," Ranger continued.
Jean Souliere, Chief Executive Officer of BusPatrol joined the virtual meeting to expand on Ranger's presentation regarding the technology. Mattawa is the first community in Ontario to have cameras on school buses collecting evidence for police. BusPatrol is free and available to any municipality. It is set up so the companies providing the cameras get their cut from the fines handed out to drivers.
For the full presentation, click here.
According to studies, there are tens of thousands of instances of drivers not noticing or ignoring the warning lights with stop arms extended every day in Ontario. BusPatrol collects digital evidence in an efficient way that meets the standards police need to secure convictions and hold drivers accountable.
Souliere presented Council with some supporting evidence of the effectiveness of the BusPatrol system. He explained offending drivers captured on camera and identified by their licence plates receive a letter with a link included. This link directs the driver to the video footage of the infraction. Presented with this evidence, Souliere said 95 per cent of drivers pay the fines without contesting them. He added, over a five-year period, BusPatrol data shows a 60 per cent reduction in violations.
On a separate matter, Ranger also recently spoke to BayToday about the school bus amber and red warning light combination. During Tuesday's meeting, he elaborated on recent developments.
"The amber eight-lamp system has no regulations or law [surrounding it] in Ontario, so I am working with government officials to try to get that passed," Ranger said in response to a question from Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch. "I'm hoping to have that read in government this month. Mattawa has written a letter of support for the amber eight-lamps."
On how North Bay could join the program, Souliere explained BusPatrol forms a partnership with the bus consortium in partnership with the municipality and police service. He said North Bay's inclusion could involve a video processing service operated locally or North Bay could tap into a service based in Peel and expected to be online this September.
Vrebosch expressed an interest in examining the BusPatrol system further and Mayor Al McDonald thanked Ranger for his work and expressed the City's sympathies for the family's loss.
With files from Dave Dale