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Red Means Stop!

When it comes to Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) student's safety, there's no room for shortcuts. Yet, an alarming trend of yellow school bus "fly-bys" is putting our youngest community members at risk. Picture this: a school bus stops, the red lights flash, and the STOP sign arm extends. This is the universal signal that kids are either getting on or off the bus. It’s a critical moment that demands full attention and absolute caution from motorists. Shockingly, some drivers in either direction zoom past the stationary bus, in a rush to get to their next destination, oblivious to the potential disaster they leave in their wake. Statics collected by CRPS’ Transportation Department from January to June of 2023 reveals on average there are 2.5 fly-bys each day – that’s over 300 in total.

Imagine being a parent whose heart stops watching a car ignore these signals, narrowly missing their child. Or even worse, not missing them. For students, especially those in Kindergarten to Grade 12, the journey to school should be a safe passage, not a perilous gauntlet. It’s not just about obeying traffic laws; it’s about a collective commitment to the well-being of our children. Motorists need to remember that when they disregard the flashing red lights, they're not just breaking the law, they're breaking a social contract of communal care and safety.

What can we, as a community, do about it? First, awareness is key. We need to make sure everyone knows the laws surrounding school bus safety. A car must stop at least 20 meters away from a bus with its red lights flashing. This isn’t optional; it’s the law. Enforcement is another crucial component. Drivers who are caught can receive 6 demerits. Lastly, let's leverage the power of education. CRPS’ new Transportation Committee will be reviewing the issue. Schools too can play a role by incorporating road safety into the curriculum, ensuring our kids also know what to look out for.

When you see a school bus with red flashing lights, just stop. It's a simple action that takes a few seconds but can save a life. Let's all commit to making the road to education a safe one for every student.