Flashing School Buses: Stay Stopped


I live on a street with a well-attended grade school. Every weekday morning from about 7:45 to 8:15 there is a flurry of activity as parents park on the street to drop-off children and several school buses of various size disgorge their precious cargo. For a short time each morning, and then again at about 2:30 in the afternoon, an otherwise quiet street becomes more like LAX on a Sunday.

For a short time each morning, and then again at about 2:30 in the afternoon, an otherwise quiet street becomes more like LAX on a Sunday.

There are kids running all over, saying goodbye to parents and dashing off to be with friends. Cars and buses come and go, in addition to the usual flow of traffic as folks make their way to work. Throw in a few delivery trucks and all out mayhem is on the menu.

Section 460 of the Québec Highway Safety Code clearly states that a vehicle passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights and side stop sign out must stop at least five meters (about 16 feet) from the bus. This is the case for cars approaching from the front or from the back. The vehicle must remain stopped until the flashing lights on the bus are turned off and the stop sign retracted.

They stopped, I would like to think they looked, and went on. A clear violation of the Highway Code, and a plain dumb move.

Today I noticed something that could have resulted in a very ugly if not tragic outcome. A driver, having dropped off his or her passengers, pulled out from the sidewalk and found a red-light-flashing-stop-sign-extended school bus. As required the car came to a full and complete stop. Fine and dandy. But then the driver proceeded to pass the still flashing school bus. Defeating entirely the concept of school bus safety. It was as if the driver considered the school bus to be a regular stop sign. They stopped, I would like to think they looked, and went on. A clear violation of the Highway Code, and a plain dumb move.

I have a hunch that if the driver of the car were to be asked about the situation, they would claim to have obeyed the stop sign on the bus. Do folks not understand that you have to stay stopped? (Furthermore even if there is a dividing median, if the school bus stops at an intersection traffic in all directions must come to – and stay at – a stop.)

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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