The fine for failing to stop for a school bus that’s dropping off passengers or unlawfully pass the vehicle will be $500, an increase of $300, and the number of demerit points is increasing from five to eight. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Drivers will be hit with bigger fines if they don’t stop for school buses

The amendments became effective on Mar. 4

Bad driving around school buses will be met with stiffer penalties now that the Yukon government has made amendments to the territory’s laws.

Those who don’t stop for a school bus that’s dropping off passengers or unlawfully pass the vehicle will be charged $500, an increase of $300. Demerit points have been raised to eight from five.

The changes came into effect on Mar. 4.

“We’ve seen the community express its anger at this really shoddy driving that endanger our most precious members of our society – children,” said Richard Mostyn, minister of highways and public works.

A second offence over a two-year period, he noted, will result in a one-month license suspension.

Mostyn said that he and Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee ramped up fines as far as they could go under the existing legislation, a “byzantine” piece that is currently being given a facelift.

“It’s woefully out-of-sync with the times and has been neglected for many, many years,” he said. “We’ve committed to rewriting that entire act. It’s a massive undertaking and it’s currently underway.”

There have been several incidents involving school buses of late, which, as reported by the News, have caused public outcry.

In early December, a school bus was hit in Marsh Lake. Another was clipped by a transport truck on Jan. 16, which sent a 12-year-old to the hospital as a precaution.

Mostyn called bad driving around school buses “unacceptable.” To get this across means bumping up “scoff laws for people who flout the laws of the territory.”

“We wanted to send a message that people have to be sharper with their driving … You choose to pass a school bus, you’re choosing to endanger the life of a child or another driver.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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