Next week, students throughout Newfoundland and Labrador will return to the classroom, resulting in increased motor vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian traffic. Motorists are reminded to drive with extra caution, especially in school zones.
The following rules, outlined in the Highway Traffic Act, must be observed at all times:
- Drivers must obey the posted speed limit in school zones and yield to pedestrians using a crosswalk.
- Drivers must not pass a school bus while stopped and must obey the visual signals of the bus driver or the bus, such as the activated stop arm and flashing red or amber lights.
- Drivers are required to leave one metre of open space between their vehicle and bicycle or pedestrian where posted speed limits are 60 kilometres per hour or less.
- Motorists are also reminded that driving while using a mobile phone or any other hand-held electronic device is illegal and poses a serious safety risk to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
In 2016, amendments to the Highway Traffic Act increased penalties for illegally passing a school bus and speeding in a school zone. Fines for illegally passing a school bus range from $500-$1,200. Excessive speeding in a school zone can lead to vehicle impoundment for up to three days and fines from $400-$1800. The Act has also recently been amended to address impaired driving, distracted driving, excessive speeding, street racing, stunting and other offences.
All school buses in the province are held to an extremely high standard and are subject to more rigorous inspection requirements than any other vehicle operated on provincial highways. School busses are thoroughly inspected several times a year. The most recent inspections continue to show high pass ratings for bus operators with 93 per cent of school busses inspected receiving a pass rating, maintaining the industry’s high safety standard.
“We strongly encourage motorists to drive with extreme caution and obey the rules of the road, especially in school zones. Transportation of students to and from school each day is very important for government, and we will continue to work with the school districts, law enforcement and operators to ensure it is as safe as possible.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL
“The safety of students travelling on school buses is everybody’s responsibility, including school bus contractors, school administrators, parents, students themselves and, perhaps most importantly, the motoring public. With over 42,000 students being transported daily by school bus, keep their safety top of mind, be alert, slow down and stop when the buses red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.”
Honourable Brian Warr
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
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One-Metre Rule Improves Road Safety
Education and Early Childhood Development