The North Bay Police Service is reminding drivers of their responsibilities when sharing the road with school buses and when driving through community safety zones.
The school year begins on September 6, 2022, and with more students walking to-and-from school, as well as more school buses on the road, it is important for drivers to practice increased vigilance.
To help ensure student safety, Community Safety Zones are in effect across North Bay, many of them around schools. Speed limits are lower in Community Safety Zones and fines are increased.
As of July 1, 2022, flashing overhead amber lights have been added to school buses. If the lights begin to flash that means the bus will soon be stopping. If the amber lights are flashing, drivers must slow down and prepare to stop whether they are behind or approaching a bus.
In addition, always remember:
- You must stop for a stopped school bus when it has its upper red lights flashing and/or its stop sign arm unfolded, whichever direction you are driving in. If a bus is stopped on one side of the road, a child may still need to cross to the other side of the road. Remain stopped until the bus moves.
- You must obey the school bus law on any road, no matter how many lanes or what the speed limit is. Be prepared to stop for a school bus at any time, not just within school hours.
- You must yield to pedestrians and crossing guards in school zones. Watch out for children exiting cars and school buses.
- When driving on a road with a median, traffic coming from the opposite direction of the school bus is not required to stop.
- If you don't stop for a school bus that has its red lights flashing and/or its stop sign arm unfolded, you can be fined between $400 and $2000 and get six demerit points for your first offence.
- If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, you can be fined even if you aren’t driving the vehicle at the time.
If you do see someone driving dangerously in a Community Safety Zone or not stopping for a school bus, contact the North Bay Police by calling 9-1-1 or calling the North Bay Police Service’s non-emergency line at 705-472-1234.
Try to remember the following information, if you can, as it will help Police in finding the offender:
- The date and time of the incident;
- The vehicle’s make, model, colour and licence plate number;
- Identifying information about the driver;
- The size of the school bus;
- Whether or not the school bus was stopped;
- If the bus had its upper red lights flashing or its stop sign arm extended;
- If passengers were boarding or leaving the school bus;
- If the vehicle passed from behind the school bus or if it was coming toward the bus in the opposite lane;
- Any other details like witness names, video or photographs of the event.