The North Bay Police Service wants to remind drivers to be careful as school buses return to the road, and school zone laws come back into effect.
Cons. John Schultz, Community Safety Coordinator for the North Bay Police Service says that the pickup and drop-off times for schools call for increased caution.
“They are picking up and dropping off at the usual times so between eight and nine in the morning and 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon, you really have to be cognizant of what’s going on around you,” said Schultz, adding that school zones will also be enforced, which result in double the fines for speeders.
Schultz says that drivers should also be on the lookout for more pedestrians.
“We have to remember that our children are out there and a lot more are walking at this time of year too, especially with COVID. They tend to dart around at times -they’re excited. We have to be vigilant and look for them,” he said.
With schools not fully functioning since March, Schultz also wants to remind drivers on how to handle a school bus on the road.
“Remember that when you see those flashing lights on a school bus, they’re either picking up or dropping off our children, so it’s time to apply the brakes and stop at a safe distance,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, failure to stop for a school bus can result in a fine of up to $2,000 and six demerit points.
Schultz says that North Bay police handle a few calls regarding school buses a year.
“It’s not a charge we lay a lot. Last year we did lay a couple and we gave out some warnings as well,” he said, adding that police are investigating a report of a violation in the area on Tuesday.
Given the size of North Bay, Schultz says that there isn’t much to be gained from trying to pass a school bus even if done so legally.
“You think you’re going to gain a lot of time by going an extra couple of kilometres an hour but really when you look at the big scope of things you only end up saving like one minute when you get to your work location,” he explained.
With the school safety zones also in effect, Schultz wants to remind drivers of a high-traffic area of the city which also has a school.
“One of the more traffic-bound areas is on Algonquin street because people are on that hill zone. They have to remember that there is a school at the bottom of the hill,” he said. “That’s an easy one where people can let their speed get away from them.”
Schultz says that he just wants to ease the transition for everyone with the reality of children returning to school.
“It’s been six months since we’ve really had to look out for the kids in the community and it does take some time to get used to so we have to make sure we have patience.” He finished.