Upper Ottawa Valley OPP asks drivers watch for school buses

School Bus

Upper Ottawa Valley OPP are asking drivers to take extra caution on area roads as school buses get set to hit the road later this week. 

With more cars, pedestrians, cyclists and school buses on area roads later this week, residents are being asked to give themselves more commute time and to expect delays, but also warned that police will be out in full force.

"OPP officers will be watching for drivers who disobey traffic laws in relation to school bus safety," Bill Dickson with East Region OPP said in a statement Tuesday, adding police will be taking a 'zero-tolerance approach.' 

Drivers must stop in both directions for school buses with safety lights and equipment activated, or risk a first-time fine between $400 and $2,000 along with six demerit points. Vehicle owners are also reminded they can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they aren't driving.The only exception is when driving on a road with a median. 

Police say more pedestrians and cyclists will also be expected on area roads in the days and weeks ahead, so drivers are asked to use extra caution and parents are asked to speak with their children about road safety rules. 

The Renfrew County District School Board has staggered the start to its school year starting Sept. 8, with senior kindergarten students and those in Grades 1 through 8 welcomed back on the first day, with junior kindergarten students welcomed back in cohorts, or a third of students to arrive each day on Sept. 9, 10 and 11. The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board plans to have all students return on Sept. 8.