School Bus Safety Week Reminds Drivers to #StopOnRed

With dangerous driving taking place everyday in the Central Okanagan, school district asks drivers to be more aware

  • Feb. 1, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Students at Pearson Road Elementary kick off School Bus Safety Week in the Central Okanagan

School bus drivers around the Central Okanagan routinely report drivers passing their school bus while the bus is stopped with red lights flashing, attempting to safely drop or pick-up school children.

In fact, school bus drivers report at least one incident per day on average during the school season when a vehicle will put kids in danger by passing while the bus lights are flashing.

And those are just the incidents where the driver can actually write down the license plate and the make and model of the vehicle and report it to the police.

“If we have 185 incidents in a year that’s 185 incidents too many,” said Dave Misener, Central Okanagan School District tranpsortation manager. “We have many more (incidents) but these are just the ones that the driver is able to make out the license plate number and the make and model. A school bus driver’s first priority is the safety of the students so they can’t always report vehicles.”

Students from Pearson Road Elementary gathered at their school on Monday morning to display artwork they created to put the spotlight on school bus safety in and around the Central Okanagan’s 43 schools.

There are 65 bus routes in the district, spanning from Lake Country to Peachland and even to Big White as buses head out each school day to pick up and drop off students.

“The theme of School Bus Safety Week is #StopOnRed. We want the public to be aware of this issue,” said Misener. “It’s not a surprise. School buses are out Monday to Friday. When they put their flashing ambers on that’s a warning that the flashing reds are coming and you have to stop to allow children to cross the street. Some people aren’t paying attention and others are going too fast.”

The Central Okanagan transportation department always tries to pick and drop off students on the right side of the street. However it’s not always possible to safely drop kids off and many will cross roads immediately, said Misener. That’s why it’s critical vehicles stop on red.

But it’s not happening on a regular basis, said RCMP constable Steve Holmes of the Kelowna traffic department.

“We get an average of 150 to 180 incidents in a year and those are only the ones that are reported, it’s not indicative of the greater number of incidents,” said Holmes. “For some people it’s blatant disregard: The bus driver will hit the horn, or stick his arm out the window and people will see it and still go through. Drivers (today) are very distracted and everyone has time constraints”

School Bus Safety Week runs Feb. 1 to 5 in the district as part of its education campaign for drivers and for students. The district has a bus safety program taught to all students in Grades 1 to 3 in September of each year, teaching the “ABC’s of School Bus Safety” to its youngest students with the object of cultivating safety-minded school bus passengers.

But its a segment of drivers of other vehicles who continue to disobey the law.

“Drivers tend to ignore these signals and they need to pay attention,” said school board trustee Chris Gorman. “When they see the lights they need to stop on red.”

Just Posted

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Kelowna - Students were unaware of resources on campus

Video: Bulky bobcat goes for a stroll

Bob Lindley shared a video of a sneaky bobcat strolling through his yard in Vernon.

Cops report explosion in number of thefts from vehicles in Central Okanagan

In just the first 2 1/2 weeks of 2018, the number has nearly tripled in Kelowna and West Kelowna

Kelowna and West Kelowna’s unsolved crimes of the week

RCMP are searching for a fraud suspect and vandal suspect in this week’s unsolved crimes

Kelowna’s Ursel to coach host team at Olympics

Bob Ursel is headed to the Olympics with South Korea’s national men’s curling team

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

EDITORIAL: With harassment allegations, students deserve better at UBCO

The lack of communication with students isn’t good enough for the Kelowna campus

Physical altercation turns to online threats in Celista

Police were called to a Shuswap ice rink after a group of men physically fought each other

Arson suspect heads to court

Vernon man suspected of starting a string of 2014 fires in Vernon

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

Most Read