Letter to the editor 6, May 11, 2017

Flashing Red Lights

Dear Editor,

When a school bus is stopped with flashing red lights, all vehicles must stop, that is the law. The police make drivers aware of this every September when schools start, but people forget very quickly and with the snow gone and the school year ending soon, many drivers have other priorities.

When dropping off my grandchildren to catch the school bus on Côte St. Charles, my daughter gets to frequently see drivers ignore the law, and drive past the school bus even when the red lights are flashing. This is at just one pick-up point, of one school bus run in the morning, so how often is this happening?

Just last week my daughter saw a silver VW Beetle coming so fast down Côte St. Charles that it was not going to stop for the flashing red lights. She was able to video the infraction, as the car did not even slow down as it passed through the flashing red lights.

It is almost predictable when some drivers will ignore the flashing red lights on school buses. Mondays and Fridays drivers are rushed, on wet days the rules do not seem to apply, in specific locations drivers’ attention is ‘otherwise occupied’ so police might be able to catch some of these drivers by just following school buses.

Three years ago Winnipeg had a project where school buses used cameras to catch offenders, and with a statement from the school bus driver or a witness, the offenders were penalized. Maybe something like that would work in our area?

Even St. Lazare can help by using the multiple municipal signs to remind drivers that flashing school bus lights means STOP, instead of using these signs informing residents of upcoming horse shows, or not cutting tiny trees, or for picking up leaves/branches.

Towns should be promoting patience in drivers’ commute by stopping when school buses have red flashing lights in the hope of avoiding potential injury or death.

Alan Nicol

St. Lazare

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