Port Alberni RCMP are reminding the public to watch out for school buses after several buses have captured footage of vehicles passing stopped buses illegally.
“Many motorists are unaware of the penalties for passing stopped school buses,” said Port Alberni RCMP Sgt. Peter Dionne in a press release. “Despite the efforts to raise awareness, some drivers still fail to stop.”
Before stopping a school bus to pick up or let off children, a bus driver is required to activate amber flashing signal lamps, Dionne explained. Once the bus comes to a complete stop, the bus driver is required to extend the stop arm and activate the red flashing signal lights prior to opening the door of the bus.
If a school bus is stopped to pick up or let out passengers with the stop arm and signal lights activated, all other drivers must stop—whether the bus is oncoming or whether you are behind the bus, Dionne said. Vehicles cannot proceed until the bus has completely let out or picked up all passengers, shut down its lights and is moving again.
All Port Alberni school buses are now equipped with high resolution cameras that have captured photos of vehicles passing stopped buses illegally. These photos are being used by police as evidence in order to issue violation tickets to the registered owner of the vehicle in question, said Dionne.
In B.C., the offence penalty for illegally passing school buses is $368, and it increases dramatically after that. Drivers will receive three penalty points on top of the fine.