Too many Penticton drivers not stopping when school buses unload kids | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Too many Penticton drivers not stopping when school buses unload kids

FILE PHOTO - The company that operates Penticton’s school buses is reminding motorists to be aware of the requirement to stop in both directions when school buses have their stop arm and signal lights activated. The reminder comes as drivers with Berry & Smith Trucking have noticed an increase in drivers ignoring the law this winter.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
January 14, 2021 - 7:00 PM

The company that operates Penticton’s school buses is reminding motorists to be aware of the requirement to stop in both directions when school buses have their stop arm and signal lights activated.

The reminder comes as drivers with Berry & Smith Trucking have noticed an increase in drivers ignoring the law this winter.

“It’s always been an issue, but this year seems to be worse than in the past,” Berry & Smith transportation supervisor Mike Palosky says. “It’s a regional issue. It’s in different areas, but it seems to be a little more prevalent on Naramata Road, although we’ve also seen instances in Kaleden, West Bench and in some spots in Penticton.”

Police are working with the bus contractor and are patrolling Naramata Road as problem bus stops are identified.

Palosky says police are issuing tickets, which can cost $380 and three demerit points.

Although the busing contractor hasn’t had any real close calls yet, Palosky says the current situation is far from ideal.

“No one wants to be the one who is there when something happens. The way I see it, it’s no different than stopping for traffic lights.”

Berry & Smith have cameras on their buses, and can often get offending vehicles’ license numbers, make and model. Palosky says bus drivers do their best but can’t always get those details as they’re watching for the kids. Some video footage shows parents’ awareness of traffic situations as they can be seen holding the kids back until all traffic is stopped, but parents aren’t at every bus stop.

“We’ve seen instances where the red lights were flashing for four or five seconds and a vehicle still goes through,” Palosky says.

“It’s hard to tell if people aren’t aware, or are just in a rush and feel they don’t have the time or need to stop, maybe not realizing kids may be crossing the road to reach the bus. Maybe higher fines would make people more aware,” he says.


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