Yukon’s minister of highways and public works said fines for failing to stop behind a school bus could increase as part of changes to the territory’s Motor Vehicles Act.
“We are looking at new fines and sanctions as well as best practices from other jurisdictions as part of this work,” Minister Richard Mostyn said Jan. 24
Currently the fine for failing to stop behind a school bus is $200.
In early December, a school bus was hit in Marsh Lake. Another was clipped by a transport truck on Jan. 16, which, as reported by the News, sent a 12-year-old to the hospital as a precaution.
Incidents like these are why at least two parents are calling for heightened RCMP patrols in the area.
Ron Swizdaryk, the regional director of Standard Bus Yukon, British Columbia, the company whose buses were involved in the collisions, had said that the Yukon’s Motor Vehicles Act should be changed to increase fines and demerit points.
The entire act is in the middle of being re-written and modernized, Mostyn said, noting that road safety involving school buses is included.
He called the legislation “antiquated.”
“It’s a very poorly worded act and it needs fixing. It’s needed fixing for a very long time.”
Re-drafting the act is in its early stages. Consultations with stakeholders have yet to take place.
“It’s gonna take about two years to get this process done,” Mostyn said, noting that there won’t be any legislation coming down the pipes before the upcoming sitting.
“This is a people management issue, where people have to start respecting the laws of the land,” he said, referring to crashes involving school buses. “We’re talking about the safety of our children. Nothing’s more important than that.”
Mostyn said fines are disincentives, but happen after a collision has occurred.
In May, the Yukon government raised distracted driving and speeding fines from $250 to $500, Mostyn said, the maximum that’s allowed under the current act.
“I really think, as a society, we need to start obeying the laws of our territory and respect school bus safety,” Mostyn said. “You don’t deke around them, you don’t pass them. You stop. It’s unacceptable. It’s simply unacceptable for people to do that.
“I’m making a public appeal to people to follow and recognize the rules of the road,” he said. “I’m asking Yukoners to slow down, leave earlier for your appointments and respect people on the road, most importantly our children. We want to prevent tragedy.”
Contact Julien Gignac at email@example.com