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September 4, 2015
For immediate release

Islanders asked to drive carefully and support students as they return to school

Education, Early Learning and Culture

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Islanders are asked to drive safely and consider the needs of families as students return to school this week, says Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Hal Perry.

“Approximately 20,000 students ride the bus to school every day and their safety is our collective responsibility,” said Minister Perry. “With buses back on the road, Islanders should slow down and pay careful attention to students getting on and off the bus. Children are excited to be getting back to school and seeing their friends and they may be easily distracted.”

“Passing a school bus when its lights are flashing is dangerous and illegal,” said Transportation, Infrastructure Minister Paula Biggar. “Children need all of us to keep them safe.”

Drivers should be prepared to slow down when the amber lights flash and come to a full stop when red lights flash. When approaching a school bus with red lights flashing, drivers must stop at least six metres (20 feet) from the front or rear of the bus, and remain stopped until the red lights stop flashing. Failing to do so can result in a $5,000 fine and a loss of eight demerit points under the Highway Traffic Act.

The province has a fleet of more than 300 school buses, of which 19 are new buses that were purchased this summer at a cost of $1.65 million.

Drivers are also asked to be extra careful when approaching children who are walking to and from school, especially at crosswalks.

Parents are encouraged to talk with their children about safe practices when getting on and off the bus. Children should always look both ways before crossing the road. They should wait on the side of the road until the bus comes to a full stop, the red lights begin flashing and the bus safety arm is fully extended.

Minister Perry asks Islanders to consider the needs of parents this week. “The first week of school is exciting for parents but it can also be an anxious one as summer comes to an end and they adjust to new routines,” he said. “Employers are asked to be aware of this and provide them with extra support and flexibility when possible.”

Media Contact: Katie MacDonald
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