‘Think about the students’, says Davis

School buses are back on the road when school started Sept. 4. Motorists are advised to obey bus signals and lights, advises Harry Davis, director of transportation for High Prairie School Division, standing beside a stop sign on a bus.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Students are back in classes and on the buses; therefore, motorists are reminded to drive safely.

“Think about the students,” says Harry Davis, director of transportation for High Prairie School Division.

“When you see a bus, stay back, slow down and take in the big picture.

“When alternating lights are activated, that means the bus will stop and pick up or drop off students.”

Buses in the school division daily transport 2,000 students on 47 routes to and from 16 schools over a total of 7,300 km from Girouxille in the west to Slave Lake in the east.

The maximum speed for buses on a highway is 90 km/hr, Davis says.

When the stop arm is extended, it indicates the bus has stopped and is in the process of picking up or dropping off students – STOP!

“It is illegal to pass a bus with its alternating red lights flashing,” Davis says.

“Failure to comply can result in a $543 fine and six demerit points.”

Bus drivers have another source of vision.

“On our new buses, we have installed a camera mounted above the windshield for another set of eyes for the driver,” Davis says.

Several motorists violated the stop lights and signs in the 2017-2018 school year.

“We had 180 stop light infractions,” Davis says.

“We also had two vehicles pass on the curb side of the bus where students get on or off the bus, that’s very concerning.”

He also urges motorists to be alert on the road around school buses.

“Do a mental and physical inventory so you are prepared to operate the vehicle safely, keeping in mind school buses and students,” Davis says.

Drivers are also reminded to respect school zones and any patrols during school days, 8 to 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Some are all day, he notes.

New school bus awareness billboards are also located in prime locations in High Prairie and Slave Lake and will be moved to other sites in the school division, he says.

Several initiatives are being planned for School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 21-27.

Bus drivers take great care to transport students safely and respect other motorists on the roads.

“All our bus operators are expected to operate professionally and this includes allowing traffic to pass when it is safe to do so,” Davis says.

“They would simply slow down, move slightly over to the right (without endangering themselves by placing the bus in a compromising position) and allow the vehicle(s) to pass.”

Bus routes continue to be reviewed to ensure safety of students.

 

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