Last week, Cumberland
Ward councillor Stephen Blais announced that the City of
Ottawa would be putting surveillance camers on the outside
of six school buses. The purpose of the cameras is to catch
motorists who pass the buses when the stop-arms are extended.
As hard as it
is to believe that people still drive past school buses
which have their stop-arms extended and their lights flashing,
it is all too common. In fact, it happens on a regular basis.
In one incident
that occurred to an M.L. Bradley driver, some idiot drove
up the inside of the bus along the shoulder of the road
after the bus had stopped with its lights flashing. The
driver just opened the door when the car sped by, nearly
crashing into the open door. The poor bus driver was so
shaken they had to take a week off work.
I spent close
to a year driving a school bus for MíL Bradley in 2014-2015
and let me tell you that a driverís worst nightmare is having
a motorist ignore the stop-arm and hit a child as they cross
School bus drivers
are already trained to make sure they keep an eye on their
kids as they leave the bus and continue on their way. They
make doubly sure that the area around the bus is clear before
they deactivate the stop-arm and continue on their route.
Part of the training
also includes waiting a minute or two after tbhe stop-arm
is activated before opening the door and allowing the kids
to disembark the bus. Itís an extra precaution to make sure
itís all clear, but still you will have the odd moron run
the stop-arm, usually going in the opposite direction.
The fine for
passing a school bus with its stop-arm extended and its
lights flashing is $490. Personally, I would add a public
flogging, but I am told that it is uncivilized in todayís
There is a special
place in Hell for someone who would place a childís life
at risk for the sake of saving 30 seconds to whatever it
is they are going.
The only exception
to the rule is on a roadway with a median and you are going
in the opposite direction.
camera program should help deter a lot of drivers from driving
past school buses with their stop-arms extended and their
lights flashing in the future.
But not everyone
will get the message, which is where you come in. If you
see someone drive past a school bus in that situation try
to get their license plate number and report it to the police.
Not every bus will be equipped with the cameras. In fact,
the majority wonít and there are still people out there
who will be willing to take the chance with our childrenís
lives despite the threat of a $490 fine.
Itís up to all
of us to make sure the transgressors donít get away with