Fines double in B.C. for illegally passing school buses
Published Monday, May 16, 2016 3:10PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, May 16, 2016 6:59PM PDT
B.C. is cracking down on drivers who recklessly ignore school bus warning lights, following a CTV News investigation that caught motorists blowing past buses in Metro Vancouver.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone said fines for blowing past a school bus with its lights activated are more than doubling to $368, plus three demerit points.
The previous fine of $167 and three demerit points was the second-lowest in the country, and Stone said it was not enough to deter drivers.
But even with B.C.'s higher penalty, it's still much lower than other provinces.
By comparison, Prince Edward Island fines drivers between $1,000 and $5,000 for a first offense, while Ontario hits motorists with six demerit points and a fine of up to $2,000.
In a press conference Monday, Stone thanked everyone who brought the issue to their attention.
A McLaughlin on Your Side investigation in January caught drivers zooming past a bus driver during her route in Surrey.
Between 2009 and 2014, 1,100 violation tickets were handed out in B.C. for the bad behavior. Eleven children were injured in that same time period.
The Victoria Police Department applauded the tougher penalties.
“Drivers need to understand that choosing not to stop for a school bus with flashing lights could be a fatal choice,” Acting Chief Constable Del Manak said in a statement.
“Stopping this dangerous behaviour will reduce the number of unnecessary and tragic collisions on B.C. roads."