Lord Selkirk School Division installing bus cameras to catch dangerous drivers
SELKIRK — A school division north of Winnipeg is hoping to catch dangerous drivers in the act.
Officials from Lord Selkirk School Division said many drivers speed past school buses – ignoring the flashing lights and stop sign.
The school division said it happens 36 times a day on average.
“Some people will stop at the first stop sign, stop at the second stop sign and then continue on,” the school division’s transportation supervisor, Mike Munday said. “Other people blow through at 100 km/h. It just depends where they are and what the situation is.”
The division launched the Think of Us on the Bus campaign Wednesday in Selkirk, Man., hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of violating school bus signs.
“Seeing the speed at which (cars) were passing was very sobering for us,” Superintendent Scott Kwasnitza said. “Our buses are well lit. They’re well marked. These are happening in broad daylight so people are making a conscious decision or they’re not paying attention.”
In the 2017/2018 school year, the division is installing high-definition cameras on its buses to catch and report dangerous drivers who cruise past a bus when it has a stop sign out.
Each bus will be outfitted with two cameras on each side.
By law, drivers in both directions are supposed to allow five meters between the vehicle and bus when the signals are activated. However, the exception is if there is a median or divided highway. In that situation only cars travelling in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.
“I’ve seen some close calls,” bus driver Art Crane said. “My hope is that people start to become more aware.”
Crane has been driving school buses for the past nine years and said he is still shocked that drivers claim they don’t see the signals or signs.
“We have a strobe light on the top of the vehicle, yellow lights, red lights that flash, stop signs that come out… the bus isn’t exactly a dull colour and people still miss us,” he said.
The division will start installing the cameras over the summer.
Officials are hoping to equip 50 buses with the cameras and said it will cost around $250,000. The money is coming out of the school division’s budget.
Munday said the division is looking within departments to cover those costs.
Drivers caught disobeying the law can face a fine of $673 and two demerit points.
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