October 21-25 is Safety Services Nova Scotia's School Bus Safety Awareness Week and Nova Scotia RCMP is asking motorists to help protect students by stopping for school buses.
School has been in session for over a month, but RCMP continues to hear reports of drivers failing to stop for school buses.
Flashing lights on a school bus signal that the bus is either about to stop or has already stopped. Amber lights mean the school bus is about to stop. Red lights mean the bus has stopped to pick up and/or drop off students. All motorists approaching the bus from the front or rear and all lanes of traffic must stop when the school bus has its red flashing lights on. Once the school bus has completed its stop, the driver will turn off their flashing lights and continue forward. This tells other motorists it's safe to continue their travels.
It is illegal to pass a school bus with its lights flashing. Children who are boarding or getting off the bus may dart out onto the street without warning, so it's important that motorists are extra cautious when driving through areas where school buses are operating.
In Nova Scotia, failing to stop for a school bus can result in a first offence fine of $410 and six points on your license.
School bus safety is a shared responsibility. Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk with their kids about the importance of paying attention and being safe at the bus stop. The following tips from Safety Services Nova Scotia can help get that conversation started:
- When the school bus approaches, line up in single file and stand back from the edge of the road.
- Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before you walk (don't run) to the bus.
- If you need to cross the street, make sure the bus driver can see you. Do not cross until the bus driver signals that it's safe to cross. Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Cross the street about 10 feet (10 "giant steps") in front of the school bus, where the driver can see you. Never walk behind the bus.
Nova Scotia RCMP will be sharing more school bus safety tips this week on social media. Follow along on Twitter at @RCMPNS and on Facebook at Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia. Failing to stop for a school bus with its lights flashing puts children's lives at risk. Remember: when the lights are flashin', don't be passin'.