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Safe driving habits for school zones

The school year is in full swing, which means that school zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day.

But according to Kelowna RCMP, something that is often overlooked, however, are the rules for drivers around school buses.

When meeting or overtaking a school bus displaying its stop sign and flashing red lights, drivers must stop and not proceed until the lights and signs are deactivated.

School buses transport thousands of children every day and their safety is paramount. Unfortunately, members of the Central Okanagan Traffic Services 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.

“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,with the Central Okanagan Traffic Services.

School buses are an obvious indicator that children may be nearby and failing to stop for the bus could end up with more serious consequences than just a traffic violation ticket. “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, fearing that there may be a death before drivers stop this dangerous manoeuver.

Police remind drivers of the tickets and fines applicable under the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act:

Speed in school / playground zone: $196-$253

Fail to stop for school bus: $167

Fail to yield to pedestrian: $167

Pass vehicle yielding to pedestrian: $167

Disobey school guard/patrol: $167

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