Close calls and near misses involving school buses are being reported daily in School District 27, prompting the board of education to call for stiffer driving penalties.
“On certain routes in our school district, it is at least a weekly and almost daily occurrence that drivers are driving through a school bus’s flashing red lights,” said Superintendent Mark Thiessen.
There have been a few near misses in the past number of years where students have almost been hit as they get on or off the bus.
While the district is doing everything it can to educate the public about this issue, another way to get the attention of drivers is to make the penalties stiffer, Thiessen said, noting the district hopes to get the attention of the public before a serious incident actually happens.
“School buses carry the most precious and vulnerable cargo — our children — addressing this issue is imperative,” board of education chair Tanya Guenther stated in a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice.
Presently the fine for failing to stop for a school bus is $167 plus three demerit points.
The board is asking for an increase of the fine to $368 with six demerit points.
Guenther’s letter has gone to politicians in the region, encouraging them to add their voice to the request for stiffer penalties.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, city council endorsed the board’s letter unanimously.