Safely to School Act aims to increase consequences for illegally passing school buses

Progressive Conservative Pat Dunn says drivers who illegally pass school buses should have their license suspended.

The Pictou Centre MLA introduced the "Safely to School Act" in the Nova Scotia Legislature yesterday afternoon.

Under the bill, failing to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights will result in 10 demerit points on a person's license, resulting in a six-month suspension.

The maximum fine would also increase to $5,000.

In a news release, Dunn says, "We all have a role in getting our children to school safely. Those who flaunt that responsibility or are reckless with it should face substantial consequences."

The Tories say that from September 2015 to the end of February 2016, there were 1,100 reports of motorists illegally passing school buses.

On Tuesday, a school bus with 21 children on board was rear-ended in Hammonds Plains while it was at a designated stop with its lights and sign activated.

Jim Gillis, a bus driver for the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education says, "Drivers just blow by my bus without thinking that the reason I am stopping is to drop off a child."

Dunn is calling on the members of the Liberal and NDP caucuses to support this bill and pass it before the end of the session.

P.E.I. passed similar legislation late last year where illegally passing a school bus would result in a fine of up to $5,000 as well as 12 demerit points, which in that province means a three-month licence suspension.