The new school year is approaching but John Dewar believes there are a lot of worried bus drivers in the North Bay area.
Dewar is the Safety Training Manager at Stock Transportation in North Bay.
He keeps tabs on his drivers and the number of times they have reported vehicles running their school bus stop signs.
“I did a count last year from the September start until June 30th, end of school year, we had 62 infractions reported by the drivers where they got the license plate and the color of the vehicle,” said Dewar.
“That’s 62 where my driver was able to get that information. I have a formula and I believe it is 2 to 1 and that is unacceptable here in North Bay and we have got to make some changes.”
See a related story here: Nine drivers ignore school bus red lights
That’s only one bus line making that claim, so those numbers are even higher.
Dewar has been in the school bus driver seat before and he knows it’s a terrible feeling when a driver sees someone blow their their lights and stop sign while children are getting on or off the bus.
“It will shake you up because the kids, they put all that faith in you, the bus, and the system when they get off that bus so when they get off the bus to go cross in front of the bus, it is out of your hands, you are hoping that the public is doing what they are supposed to be doing,” said Dewar.
“So yes, it is very stressful.”
Fines for failing to stop for a school bus can be:
- First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points.
- Each following offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time up to six months.
If the driver is not charged, the vehicle’s registered owner can be fined $400 to $2,000 for a first offence and $1,000 to $4,000 for subsequent offences within a five-year period if their vehicle illegally passes a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing.