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October 27, 2017 8:56 pm

Parents Concerned About School Bus Safety

Saturday, October 1, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


Prince George, B.C. – Some drivers just don’t get it when it comes to safety around school buses.

That was the message from Gillian Burnett, chair of the Nukko lake Elementary School Parent Advisory Council (PAC), at this week’s monthly Prince George School Board meeting.

She’s calling on area stakeholders to help ensure little ones stay safe.

“Basically, we keep having parents coming forward with complaints about people failing to stop for the school bus when its red lights are flashing and it stops to let students disembark or board the bus,” said Burnett.

“We’d like the district to explore the possibility of partnering with Diversified Transportation, the RCMP, and ICBC to consider an awareness campaign that reaches the entire district.”

She said you’d be surprised how unfamiliar some drivers are regarding the rules of the road.

“There’s a difference between disobeying the law and being oblivious to it and there are a lot of drivers that when we’re speaking to them they tell us they didn’t realize that they needed to stop in both directions.”

Burnett said parents have noticed a big improvement in the Nukko Lake area since the local PAC installed some safety signs at their own expense last year but added it hasn’t been fool proof.

“We still have probably at least one close call a month. They used to be weekly.”

The situation is even worse in the Southridge area in College Heights where there were around 200 incidents last year.

It was so bad that Luis Gonzalez, operations manager with Diversified Transportation, told 250News last month he fears for the worst.

“It’s not just automobiles. Sometimes we’ve even had semi-trucks passing and this is something that the community should be aware of and work on as a community.”

One person who sympathizes with Burnett’s call for action is Prince George School Board chair Tony Cable.

“Well I think she has some valid concerns and the school district and school board would support her 100%,” he said. “Anything we can do, anything the RCMP can do, anything the community can do to make bus safety better, I’m all for it.”

He said one of the problems these days is the fact most kids don’t walk or ride their bikes to schools like they used to 20-25 years ago and instead are largely driven to school.

“So when you start having that number of vehicles going in and out of the parking lots and then you have schools that have busing – that is a lot of traffic on the roads, in the parking lot, and a lot of kids going back and forth,” said Cable.

“I know every school in the district – the school staff and the principals are working so hard to make sure those parking lots are safe.”

Burnett just hopes awareness is raised further before a child is hit by a car and injured or worse.

“That’s my worst fear. I don’t think we’ll get there. I’m really crossing my fingers and hoping that we can raise awareness about this before we’re there.”


Many drivers don’t get it at anytime. To many.

Awareness is the Key.It may be the law , but as can be seen elsewhere ( distracted driving Helmet Law , Speeding ) some laws are being Ignored.
Reminding Driver’s or bringing it to their attention , should help.

Simplest solution that I can come up with:
-Equip all busses with hi-def camera systems front and rear.
-Send the video footage of offenders to the RCMP. The RCMP then lays every possible applicable charge upon the driver.

Charges could include:
-passing a schoolbus while red lights are flashing.
-dangerous driving, endangering the lives of pedestrians
-driving with undo care and attention
-distracted driving

I am sure that there are more possibilities. If the cops could make at least 2 charges stick, then the points incurred would put the driver close to having their license suspended.
The fines would take a big chunk of change out of their pocket as well.

IMO the charge for passing a schoolbus while lights are flashing should be changed to attempted vehicular manslaughter. Sorry to those really bad, self important drivers out there who would disagree with my opinion… but there is a good number of people out there that should not be allowed behind the wheel.

    You forgot the one to fine people for “looking grumpy”

    watchdog I have to agree with your last sentence, some professional drivers included.
    There should be a concerted effort to get these drivers off the road permanently. They seem to have no regard for laws or anyone else on the roads. They are a danger to everyone including themselves.

    Really, is ICBC so dependant on income from drivers licenses and fines that they totally disregard the safety of the general public?
    How long will it be until someone goes “Mad Max” and just starts running these people off the road?

    Good luck charging anyone from using camera footage unless you can ID the driver 100%. That’s why photo radar tickets never gave out points to the vehicle owner.

      Even if you see the driver would you be able to identify that person in a year when the case finally goes to court?

Everyone has been awarenessed to death about passing school buses when the red lights are flashing, speeding in school zones, playgrounds etc. Red flashing lights have been on school buses forever, time to put the hammer down and have a minimum fine of $10,000.00 for passing a school bus when it is stopped with the red lights flashing. Something tells me drivers would “get it” then.

How about mounting a camara that records when the lights are flashing.

Tail and dash cams in every bus, regardless of the condition, stopped or moving. Record report and ticket…. Simple

Agreed… also – do people just not signal in this town? Turning, changing lanes etc. alot of people wilfully not signalling… serious case of laziness or disregard or both.

Prince George is one of the few districts that the buses are not owned/operated by the school district.

1.) The school district has been approached more than once over the years on the issue of putting cameras on the buses. They will not due to the costs and they are not the school district’s buses. It is not the responsibility of Diversified to pay for the cameras.

2.) Sending the footage of offenders to the RCMP would most likely be mute as when it comes to the court date most RCMP are not available to show up for court date due to various reasons. There are not enough man/woman hours to get this done.

3.) Bus drivers already fill out forms if they can attain enough information of the event. Like one poster commented. Good luck in identifying the driver up to a years time.

4.) Most buses in the country that do have cameras, are set up that the cameras are activated when the stop sign comes out and that is only accomplished when the reds are put on by the driver and the opening of the door. They have cameras facing the front and back of the bus.

5.) Instead of using amber lights to warn a school bus is about to stop I believe it should go straight to the red lights. It is not up to the driver of the bus to wait for a vehicle to pass and then using the reds. The current law clearly states the reds are to be on and the stop sign is out.

6.) Problem with the setup of the cameras is being able to attain a licence plate if it is covered with snow, the vehicle speed, out of province vehicles having only 1 licence plate

The public needs to push the process and get it changed.

Just a thought for added safety – maybe the school buses on more rural routes can let the people who have to stop behind them every few hundred meters pass after they finish picking up or dropping off the student. Not hard to do and only takes a second and prevents drivers from getting frustrated behind them.

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