Halifax parents, police blast drivers for illegally passing school buses

HALIFAX – Police and parents say they’re concerned about the number of drivers who do not stop for the red flashing lights on school buses.

On Wednesday, Global News spent time with Halifax Regional Police officers as they conducted a traffic stop at Hammonds Plains Road and Killarney Drive.

During that time, police issued tickets to two drivers for failing to stop for school buses. One of the ticketed drivers ran through the bus’s stop sign a few seconds before a young boy crossed the street to get onto the bus.

The intersection sees a couple school buses stop every morning and police said they are stopping at least two cars every day for passing school buses.

“There’s four lanes here. There’s some people that just appear to be unsure of what to do when it comes to multi-lane highways when buses stop,” said Const. Tracy MacDonald, who was one of three officers staking out the intersection on Wednesday.

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“The red lights come on and [the] centre lane will stop but the curb lane on the other side [of the street] won’t stop because they just feel [like they’re] out of range. They don’t think they have to stop.”

“Once that school bus puts those red lights on, it’s time for everyone to come to a stop.”

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MacDonald said the main concern stems from elementary school students who could potentially dart out into traffic.

“We’re not trying to track anyone. We’re just trying to make sure kids get to school safe.”

He said the reasons police hear range from “I’m late” to “I didn’t see any kids crossing the road so I thought it would be OK”, but MacDonald said those excuses could land drivers a $406.45 fine and six points against their license.

“It’s very simple. Red lights on the school bus, come to a stop whether it’s four lanes, two lanes or sixteen lanes. Red lights mean stop.”

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The situation at Hammonds Plains Road and Killarney Drive is concerning for Ashley MacMaster, who walks her five-year-old daughter Sloane Hailey to the bus stop every day.

“I was actually really surprised by how many cars ignored the buses. They go through the stop every single time,” she said.

She hopes drivers start to get the message fast that they need to be mindful of the brakes when they see a bus stop for students.

“It’s very worrisome because you worry your kid is going to get hit.”

Erin Firmini walks her four- and six-year-old sons to the same bus stop.

“It’s scary really. I thank goodness we don’t have to cross at all because I see the others who have to cross and it’s a little unnerving,” she said.

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