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Kelowna cops issue warning about passing school buses

Kelowna RCMP say with the school year now 2 1/2 months old, it is receiving hundreds of complaints about vehicles illegally passing parked school buses.

So the police are reminding drivers that school zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day and when a school bus is displaying its stop sign and flashing red lights, other drivers must stop and not proceed until the lights and signs on the bus are deactivated.

"On average we have had about 100 complaints per year in the past five or six years, but that is a conservative estimate considering that bus drivers are simply unable to get every plate number, especially those vehicles that are traveling at such high rates of speed as they pass," said Const. Tim Monteith of the RCMP's Central Okanagan traffic services unit.

He said in the Central Okanagan, school buses transport thousands of children every day and their safety is paramount. But police officers see too often that drivers are failing to stop for school buses.

Not only are those drivers failing to stop, they are also usually driving too fast, said the police warning, which was issued Thursday.

"A child was struck last year by a motorist in the Oliver area and it appears that drivers are not getting the message," said Monteith, adding some fear that there may be a death before drivers stop what he called "this dangerous manoeuvre."

According to police, school buses are an obvious indicator that children may be nearby and motorists failing to stop for the bus could end up with more serious consequences than just a traffic violation ticket.

Fines for speeding in school or playground zones in B.C. range from $196-$253 and for failing to stop for a school bus, failing to yield to a pedestrian, passing a vehicle yielding to pedestrian or disobeying a school crossing guard or patrol $167 each.

 

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