Emily M. | Kwantlen Polytechnic University
A stop-arm violation strips away the safety that is associated with school buses, as other road users fail to stop for a stopped and flashing school bus this puts students in great danger. Many students trust that when the lights on the school bus are flashing and the stop-arm comes out, road users know to stop and that it is safe to cross the street. However, this is not always the case, as drivers and other users fail to obey this rule, this can lead to physical injuries, trauma, and worst of all fatalities in students. School buses are a primary mode of transportation for some students, therefore there is no reason for a fatal incident to occur on the way home or to school.
According to CBC (2018), a stop-arm violation will “result in 12 demerit points and driver’s license suspension for three months, plus a $5,000 fine”. Hopefully, a $5,000 fine would encourage drivers to stop for school buses when the lights are flashing. Regardless, this issue needs much stricter regulation and greater public awareness. Although monetary punishments help prohibit the same offense, this should not be a way for road users to learn the dangers of this crime.
Likewise, children at a young age should be taught to look left and right and make sure that other road users have fully stopped before stepping onto the street. Doing so will lessen the dangers when there is a stop-arm violation. There are additional measures that can be taken to lessen the dangers of these violations.
Ways for the public to ensure students safety:
- Have parents and guardians talk about the dangers of crossing the street without ensuring that it is safe to do so
- Make it a requirement for teachers to do road safety drills in school
- Ensure the general public follows proper road safety to set a good example for students
Ways to improve the current system:
- Advertise the harms and consequences of failing to stop for the school bus when the stop-arm is out
- Make the message relatable, so viewers know that this can happen to someone they know
- Pursue all offenders and give out appropriate fines
- Install cameras if not already and go through videos to catch offenders
- Require a chaperone or a crossing guard who is first aid certified on the bus for younger students
- They will be tasked to accompany students halfway across the street to ensure that vehicles have fully stopped before the students can get across
- Have a police officer accompany the school bus in an area with high violations
- Immediate fines and warnings will be issued to the offender.
Besides what others can do regarding this issue, I can do my part to help alleviate the problem by driving with caution in school zones and residential areas, stopping when the school bus flashing and the stop-arm is out, and lastly being more aware of my surroundings. By being aware I just might be able to save a student’s life because it only takes a second for tragedy to strike.
This essay is part of a series that aims to engage teachers and educational professionals to share their thoughts on school bus safety. This submission is being considered as a winner for the BusPatrol Scholarship Program. https://www.buspatrolscholarship.com/ Please share this article to show your support.