Victoria Police acting chief Del Manak

Fine for passing school bus more than doubles

Fine goes up to $368 for ignoring flashing lights as children get on and off, same as new distracted driving penalty

The fine for passing a B.C. school bus when children are getting on or off is being more than doubled to $368.

The previous fine of $167 was one of the lowest in Canada, and a greater deterrent is needed to keep children safe, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Monday at an announcement at the B.C. legislature.

The fine is the same increase as that recently announced for distracted driving penalties. For passing a school bus when its flashing stop lights are activated, drivers already get three penalty points for a first offence.

A second offence within a year would trigger a $300 penalty point assessment on top of the $368 fine, plus an automatic review of the driver’s licence that could result in a suspension.

From 2009 to 2014, police in B.C. have issued 1,100 tickets to drivers for failing to stop when school bus warning lights indicate. In the same period, 14 children were injured.

Peace River North school bus driver Cindy Dettling attended the announcement. Stone and Public Safety Minister Mike Morris credited her with bringing the issue to the government’s attention when she saw more drivers putting her passengers at risk.