School Resumes in Ontario: Police Issue Road Safety Reminders Amid Anticipated Bus Traffic Surge

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As autumnal leaves hint at the onset of a new season, the familiar sight of packed school bags and big yellow buses also makes a return to the landscapes of northern Ontario.

Commencing Wednesday, majority of the northeast will see scholastic sessions resume, prompting police officers to issue reminders that the roads will be thronged with school buses. “With school bells resounding imminently, school buses and students will populate our pathways, crosswalks, and streets thus sparking hustle and bustle,” Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) stated in a recent communique.

The OPP asserts unwavering dedication to public safety, coupled with the need for drivers to adhere to responsible road usage. As remnants of pandemic restrictions fade into oblivion, a surge of parents have chosen to ferry their progeny to school via buses for the incoming academic year, hinting at amplified bus traffic.

Authorities are reminding motorists that modern school buses now flash amber lights before they halt, providing ample notice for other drivers to prepare to stop. Subsequently, a display of flashing red lights will signal a stationary bus. Motorists approaching a bus adorned with these glowing crimson signals from either direction are mandated to halt their vehicles, allowing for the safe embarkation and debarkation of young scholars.

In Greater Sudbury, the Sudbury Student Services Consortium has boosted their surveillance capabilities over the past year by installing nine new cameras on buses in areas with high volumes of complaints; a strategy designed to aid the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) in penalising lawbreakers. In the words of Sergeant Blair Ramsay from the GSPS, “We had our eyes opened to the plethora of infractions as a result of initiating targeted bus routes, with the majority transpiring on four-lane roadways.”

The OPP has issued an array of safety directives as the school year launches. These include adhering strictly to speed limits, particularly in school or community safety zones, refraining from using handheld devices whilst driving and always ensuring seatbelt usage. Drivers are also urged to never operate vehicles under the influence, remain vigilant towards their blind spots and possible presence of children weaving their way between vehicles, respect a safe distance from school buses, and heed instructions from crossing guards.

The Highway Traffic Act stipulates severe penalties for defiance, where drivers who pass stationary school buses with red lights flashing could face fines between $400 and $2,000, or attract six demerit points for an initial transgression. More stringent violations could result in escalated fines or even potential incarceration.

The OPP reiterated that police patrols will circulate on our roads, offering guidance or enforcing laws as required, with the end goal of everyone reaching their destinations safely. With the first day of the school year upon us, Sudbury law enforcement emphasise that maintaining vigilance and travelling at safe speeds rank among the highest priorities.

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