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P.E.I. drivers who illegally pass school buses will now lose their licence

Parents in the province have been complaining for years about the 1.6-km school busing policy, with many citing safety as their reason. — File photo
Island drivers who pass a school bus illegally will now automatically lose their licence for three months. - SaltWire Network

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Island drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses will now lose their licence.

This update to the Highway Traffic Act will take effect Dec. 8 and means failing to stop for a school bus when the red flashing lights are activated will lead to 12 demerit points, resulting in suspension of the licence for three months. This is in addition to the fine of up to $5,000.

“We all have a role to play in keeping children safe on their way to school. This change means that drivers who ignore this law are not allowed on Island roads,” said Transportation Minister Paula Biggar. “We are working with our police and education partners to prevent the dangerous practice of illegally passing school buses and we continue to explore comprehensive options to eliminate this unnecessary risk to children.”

This change increases the penalty for illegally passing a school bus from eight demerit points to 12 demerit points. When any driver accumulates 12 demerit points, their licence is suspended for three months.

In order for the licence to be reinstated, the driver meet with Highway Safety, pay a $100 reinstatement fee and take a defensive driving course within six months of the getting their licence back.

After the reinstatement, the driver is on a demerit point probation in which any further demerits within one year will result in a further licence suspension.

Government and policing agencies have ramped up public awareness efforts to prevent dangerous and distracted driving, and continue to explore additional prevention and enforcement options including new technology and safety features on school buses and further legislative amendments.

To learn more about keeping school children safe, visit princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/transportation-infrastructure-and-energy/school-bus-safety.

Related: P.E.I. highway safety director floats demerit point system for drivers who pass school buses

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