Skip to content

Police launch back to school safety awareness campaign (2 photos)

Sault Ste. Marie Police Service will be on the lookout for drivers who aren't stopping for school buses, crosswalks

Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is reminding drivers to be aware of their surroundings now that school is back is session around the city. 

Police chief Hugh Stevenson was joined by Sgt. Ray Magnan and Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board Education Director Rose Burton Spohn at St. Paul Catholic School to launch the police service’s back to school safety awareness campaign Wednesday morning. 

Stevenson hopped on a bus full of students headed for the Pine Street school, with Sgt. Magnan following the bus in a city police cruiser. 

“Your police service is watching and trying to keep these kids extra safe, especially the first few weeks of school - and that’s both on the school bus and crosswalks,” said Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Hugh Stevenson. 

Sgt. Magnan says that city police have had issues with people not stopping for school buses in the past. 

“We want drivers to be aware of what’s going on, to obey the laws required and come to a stop when a school bus is stopped, and its lights flashing,” he said. 

Sgt. Magnan says it’s roads with multiple lanes, like McNabb Street or Second Line, that pose a problem when it comes to keeping children safe from traffic when boarding or exiting a school bus. 

Not stopping for a school bus can result in a fine of up to $490 and six demerit points. 

“Even if it’s a multi-lane road, you must stop for a school bus if it’s in the opposing lane - even if the kids are getting on from that curb area, all lanes of traffic must stop,” he said.

There's also a program in place where school bus drivers licence provide city police with plate numbers and descriptions of vehicles that ignore school bus stop signs. 

Police then send a warning letter to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Meanwhile, police have also had issues with drivers not stopping for crossing guards throughout the school year, and people driving through school crosswalks when they’re not entirely clear of children. 

Not stopping for a crossing guard can result in a fine of up to $360 and a penalty of four demerit points. 

When Sgt. Magnan followed a busload of children en route to St. Paul Catholic School Wednesday morning, he didn’t spot any school bus or crosswalk-related driving infractions.  

“I had no concerns this morning, which was nice to see,” he said. “When you’re following behind that bus, you get an image of how important it is to stop. You see the parents with their young children waiting, the happy moment [of] very young, small children going to school and having to cross that road.”

“It really stresses the importance of paying attention.”