School Bus Collisions at a record High In Waterloo Region last school year

February 27, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Man Sitting on Door of School Bus

School bus collisions in the Region of Waterloo were at a nine year high for the last school year 2017-2018 announced Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region. This sad fact is somewhat tempered by the fact that student injuries were down. The STSWR operates over 450 school bus vehicles in the Region.

A total of 58 school buses collided in the last year. STSWR reported one student injury  but it was related to a bump in the road, not a collision. The average number of collisions per year is 40 since 2009, and there have been a total of 19 injuries in the last 10 years. Injuries are defined as an incident requiring more than first aid.

School busses are considered to be among the safest vehicles on the road as a function of their design and visibility. GPS devices have been installed on all buses in order to track their location, and to be able to determine whether drivers are speeding. The STSWR strives for zero speeding events. There are also alcohol detection devices on all buses in the school board which required drivers to place a hand on the sensor. The bus will not move if alcohol beyond the threshold amount is detected.

STSWR maintains that they will continue to ask for camera on school buses to record and ticket drivers who pass them when they are stopped with their lights flashing.

The Record reports that drivers pass school buses 130 times daily in the Region endangering the lives of the children who are boarding or off-loading from the buses. There is no reason to pass a school bus with lights are on and it is stopped.

Failure to stop for the bus carries a hefty fine of $400-$2000 for a first offence along with 6 demerit points. Subsequent offences are $1000-$4000 with an additional 6 points and potential jail time up to 6 months.

Here are the detailed rules about what to do when you encounter a school bus on a roadway stopped with lights on and flashing

Drivers: know the rules

Description will be added

When driving on a road WITHOUT a median:

  • drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
  • when you approach the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
  • don't move forward until the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move

When driving on a road WITH a median:

  • traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.

Fines

Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing:

  • First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points..
  • Each following offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time (up to six months)

Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they weren't driving.

Students: Stay safe

Illustration of danger zones around school bus.

School bus travel is very safe in Ontario. Injuries and fatalities, which are very rare, happen more often outside the school bus as students are boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the street.

Parents, help keep your children safe by talking about bus safety with them.

When you board or leave a bus

  • Be at the bus stop before the bus comes.
  • Wait in a safe place well back from the edge of the road - don't play in ditches or on snow banks.
  • Stay out of the DANGER ZONE. If you can touch the bus, you're too close. U se 10 giants steps to take you out of the DANGER ZONE, and make sure you and the bus driver can see each other.
  • Always cross the road in front of the bus, never behind.
  • Look all ways and wait for the driver to signal before you cross in front of a bus.
  • Walk at least 10 big steps from the front of the bus.
  • Enter or exit the bus in single file. Never push or shove.
  • Walk - never run - across the road.
  • NEVER stop to pick up anything that you may have dropped in the DANGER ZONE. Ask an adult or the bus driver to help.

While on the bus

  • Find a seat right away. Stay seated, facing forward at all times.
  • Don't put things in the aisle.
  • Never distract the bus driver. Always follow his or her instructions.
  • Don't eat or drink.
  • Don't yell, push people or throw things.
  • Keep your arms and head inside the bus.

Reporting Drivers Who Don’t Stop

You can report a vehicle that doesn't stop properly for a school bus to police immediately by calling 911.

You can also go to the nearest police station and file a complaint. The police will ask you:

  1. The date and time of the incident.
  2. The vehicle's make, model, colour and licence number.
  3. Who was driving?
  4. Was the bus a "chrome yellow" school bus with the words "School Bus" at both the front and rear of the bus?
  5. Was it a small or a large school bus?
  6. Was the school bus stopped?
  7. Were the upper red lights of the school bus flashing while it was stopped?
  8. Were there passengers boarding or leaving the school bus?
  9. Did the vehicle pass the school bus from behind or was it coming toward the bus in the opposite lane?

Other details can also help, such as witness accounts or photographs.




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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

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