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114 Cars Blew Past Local School Buses Stopped With Lights Flashing, Since The First Day of School

KAWARTHA LAKES-Helen Hawkins is passionate about school bus safety. She is the Area Supervisor for Kawartha Lakes Bus Lines and says she has noticed a marked increase in the number of people who don’t stop for school buses when they should.

“We’ve never seen numbers like this here and the numbers are escalating,” Hawkins told Kawartha 411 News. “We had one span of a half-hour where there were 8 calls about this from our drivers and our first thought is, I hope everyone is ok. My greatest fear is it’s going to be a call in and it’s not ok.”

Hawkins says the drivers have reported 114 incidents since the beginning of the school year but those numbers are much higher as most aren’t reported to the office.

“I know there’s far more but our drivers know that if we don’t have a matching licence plate and description of the vehicle nothing that can be done, so they don’t call it in.”

Hawkins says on Wednesday, at a stop with 16 students a vehicle passed on the door side of the bus. “What does it take to get people to understand.”

A vehicle must stop if the bus has it’s lights flashing, the stop sign is out and the crossing gate is extended, except if there is a meridian between the road. In that case, the cars on the other side of the meridian don’t have to stop.

“It’s just educate, educate, educate…. and advocate, its become our mission!” Hawkins says. “And if in doubt, stop.”

Hawkins would also like to see stiffer penalties.

“I think that the fines need to be tougher, right now could be up to 2000 and 6 demerit points, but to me, a child’s life is worth far more than that.”

She would also like to see it covered more extensively in driver training schools.

The worst spots for it are Highway 7 to Fowlers Corners and in town on Angeline Street North. When we call the police they are amazing, they are very helpful.”

“According to Hawkins a lot of it has to do with inattention, people aren’t focused they are seeing their four walls and then when they get out they aren’t focused.”

The bus line has one bus with a stop-arm camera but they are going to take part in a pilot project where more cameras will be installed.

She is asking people to be more aware.

“You don’t have to prove who is driving the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle can also be charged.” Hawkins points out.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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