Labour Day has come and gone. You can kiss the summer and wearing those light white beach side pants goodbye.
With the passing of Labour Day comes the arrival of the back to school season. The roads are noticeably busier across Ontario. I can tell you from experience that the morning commutes in Toronto, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Peterborough take longer and are noticeably more congested.
Back to school brings more school buses on the roads, along with more children walking or cycling to school. This added traffic brings with it increased risk for serious accidents and serious injury. This is why this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog will focus on the top safety tips for the Back To School Season Commute. Some obvious tips; others not so obvious. Enjoy!
- Signage: Those “School Zone” and “Community Safety Zone” signs really mean something. They have been installed for a reason after long road studies and traffic observations; so watch your speed and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists on their morning commutes.
- Stop Signs on Buses matter: School buses come equipped with their very own stop signs. They are attached to an extendable arm at the side of the bus and activate on pick ups and drop offs. These stop signs aren’t gimmicks. They have the very same force as those signs which are fixed in place on community streets.It is illegal to fail to stop for a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing. If you don’t stop, you can be fined $400 to $2,000 and get six demerit points for a first offence. If you are convicted a second time within five years, the penalty is a fine of $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points. You could also go to jail for up to six months. In Ontario, school-bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus. If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, these same fines, but not demerit points or jail time, may be applied to you.Watch for school buses near railway crossings. All school buses must stop at all railway crossings. The upper alternating red lights are not used for these stops, so be alert. If you are driving behind a stopped school bus with its flashing light extending, the Ministry of Transportation requires that you stop at least 20 meters BEHIND the stopped bus.
- Use the Buddy System: If your child walks or bikes to school, it’ s a good idea for road safety and just for general safety that they not make the commute on their own. Find a friend or a commute buddy so that they can make the trip together and in proper safety. G-d forbid something should happen or they go missing. The buddy system will ensure a faster notice period should something wrong on the commute to/from school. It’s easy and just makes sense.