Safe Stop reminds Kootenay drivers to stop for the school bus

SD20 bus drivers share an alarming number of stories about drivers who don't stop for flashing red lights and stop paddles.

Dan Haines drives Route 20 from East Trail through Shavers Bench and Glenmerry before heading out to pick up students in Beaver Valley. He reports 15 people have run the bus’ flashing red lights

Dan Haines drives Route 20 from East Trail through Shavers Bench and Glenmerry before heading out to pick up students in Beaver Valley. He reports 15 people have run the bus’ flashing red lights

“When we stop, you STOP!”

That’s the message bus drivers in School District 20 (SD20) and across the province are reminding all motorists this week in a campaign called Operation Safe Stop BC.

It’s never an option to ignore the red lights and put students in harms way the district is bringing awareness to the problem of drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses in a Safe Stop event on Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Safeway parking lots of Trail and Castlegar.

The scary truth is that no matter which SD20 bus driver you talk with, he or she has a number of alarming stories about drivers being impervious to the red flashing lights. Now the SD20 transportation department is banding together with Safe Stop and advising all drivers that yellow means slow down and red means stop, period.

Dan Haines drives two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon picking up and dropping students off along Route 20 through Trail and out to the Beaver Valley.

In the one year since he took on the job after retiring from Teck, Haines reports 15 people have run his red lights. In one instance, the same Shavers Bench motorist ignored the bus flashers and stop paddles three times fortunately, other than giving Haines a fright, the driver’s disregard didn’t end in worst case scenario.

“They go right through,” Haines told the Trail Times. “My first week on I had three people go zooming by,” he continued. “A lot of them are drinking coffee or on their phone and they just go right on through. I’ve laid on my horn, hung out the window and waved at them to stop but they just keeping going.”

He says it’s difficult to record the licence plate numbers, with a bus full of students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, Haines’ attention is obviously on his passengers and their safety.

And dash cams are not allowed on school buses.

“A lot of people figure they can turn the corner or pass through because kids are loading (on the other side),” he said. “But there’s times where kids are late to get the bus so they’ll run (across the street). People don’t realize that if I am stopped you can’t turn or go through (around) you stop. You don’t move.”

Another seasoned SD20 bus driver echoes Haines’ experiences.

Trevor Rawson has been driving for 10 years, and this fall, his bus is the fullest it’s ever been.

He transports 60 youngsters to Warfield every morning, last year the head count was 38.

Rawson reminds the public that all the students have to swipe a bus pass when entering and exiting the bus this year, and this requirement can take a few extra minutes.

So be patient.

“There are a lot of courteous drivers that stop even without the lights flashing,” Rawson said. “But 60 kids takes a lot of time (to load) by the time they take off their back pack and find their pass. I’ve had people beeping downtown (Centaph) and (ignoring) the stop at Cooke and Davis in Rossland.

Students are told not to run to the bus, but they do.

“I’ll have the lights going while I load the passenger side and kids who are late run across the road. Sure people have seen the signs, but they still go through.”

And both men have the same advice for impatient drivers go another way or leave five minutes earlier.

“I know people are in a hurry,” said Haines. “But this is an everyday occurrence, we are there the same time every day if you don’t like it then leave five minutes earlier or go an alternate route.”

Over 1,500 SD20 students ride a yellow bus to and from school each day. The one-day Safe Stop event is intended to focus on driver education and enforcement and “Keeping Our Kids Safe.”

Yellow lights mean the bus is going to stop, so the campaign reminds all motorists to slow down. Red lights mean stop, the students are getting on or off the bus.

RCMP Cpl. Darryl Orr says based on location, there are certain “hot spots”</span

Just Posted

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read