On Thursday, September 9 many students and staff are heading back to school, once again under pandemic challenges and concerns. Children in Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township are excited to be heading back to school to see their classmates, teachers and support staff. Due to this excitement, they may forget to follow traffic rules and safe practices when crossing streets. In order to keep our children safe it is paramount all motorists use caution while driving around our communities.
During the school year, we regularly receive complaints from the public about vehicles not properly stopping for school buses or at designated school crossings. We all bare responsibility to keep children, bus drivers and crossing guards safe. Be vigilant for vehicles transporting students and crossing guards assisting children to cross roads safely.
While we have largely adapted to COVID-19 safety precautions and conditions, children in our community will be learning or re-learning some of them as students return to in person learning. Be patient as boarding and exiting buses may take longer than usual.
The City of Sault Ste. Marie recently installed new permanent speed limits in school zones. If designated as a school zone, posted speed limits will 40 km/h.
It is important all of us familiarize ourselves with the rules so we can properly stop for buses and school crossings.
• drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
• when approaching a bus, stop at a safe distance (approximately 20 metres is recommended) to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
• do not move forward until the upper red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move
• all motorists, including cyclists, must stop and yield the entire roadway. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have completely crossed the road can you continue on your way.
Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. A first offence carries a minimum fine of $490 and six demerit points. Multiple violations can result in fines as high as $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time. Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they are not driving at the time of the violation.
Drivers can be charged if they endanger pedestrians at school crossings. A first offence carries a minimum fine of $365 and four demerits points. Multiple violations can result in fines as high as $2,000, six demerit points, possible jail time and licence suspension.
Parents, guardians and caretakers, we urge you to discuss school bus, road and bicycle safety with children in your lives. The more knowledge everyone has, the greater odds we have of avoiding a serious incident.