Yes, summer is quickly coming to an end.
After the Labour Day long weekend, school starts again for the majority of elementary and high school students. This means that big yellow school buses will return to our highways and roads.
But there will be buses on the road starting this Monday, as schools under the jurisdiction of the Conseil scolaire catholique de district des Grandes-RiviÃ¨res start classes a week earlier than the other three school boards serving the Timmins area. It is vital that drivers are aware that buses will be on the roads during the last week of August.
Area motorists must exercise caution when sharing the roadway with these vehicles full of precious cargo. As such, itâ€™s the right time to recall the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act when it comes to meeting a school bus on the road.
â€œEvery driver, when meeting on a highway, other than a highway with a median strip, a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing, shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing,â€ the act reads.
â€œEvery driver on a highway, when approaching from the rear a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing, shall stop at least 20 metres before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.â€
In 2005, the act was amended so that the registered owner of a vehicle, which illegally passes a school bus, can be charged, regardless of who is actually driving at the time.
Any penalty or fine pales, however, to the real-life cost of a scenario where driver negligence causes a collision with a school bus, or a student is hit.
Students â€” from the youngest children attending school for the first time to teens in high school â€” represent the future of our community.
They are our sons, our daughters, our nieces and nephews, our neighbours, our friends and are the most valuable resource we have.
The rule for drivers is simple: Whether on a city street, highway or county road, and regardless of the speed limit and the number of lanes, motorists travelling in both directions must stop when approaching a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing.
Every year, more than 800,000 children in Ontario travel via school bus on a daily basis. School bus travel is one of the safest methods of transportation available. But, it requires a commitment from motorists to keep it that way.
Slow down, obey the law and make sure a tragedy is avoided. Donâ€™t start a new school year on a tragic note.