Monday June 6, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
A traffic incident where an SD62 student was impacted by a passing vehicle after departing from travel on an SD62 school bus sees the Sooke School District “reviewing their internal processes for drivers related to reporting any incidents that occur regarding safety processes and protocols”, according to SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson.
“Our primary goal is to remind the public that when our school buses have their flashing lights on and the stop sign is out that they are required to stop. This means that students are either getting on or off the bus and in order to keep them safe, vehicles in both directions must stop and not proceed until the driver signals it is safe for other vehicles to move by turning off their flashing lights,” said Stinson in a statement to Island Social Trends today.
SD62 continues to cooperate with the West Shore RCMP investigation.
Recruiting more drivers:
“We are continuing to recruit bus drivers,” says Stinston. Earlier this academic year, and last year, there were challenges to filling all required bus driver positions.
“The issues of staff shortages earlier in the year have eased,” Stinson said today.
Those issues had mostly been around exposure of bus drivers to potential COVID exposure during the pandemic, before significant community immunity to the COVID-19 virus had been achieved through vaccination. Many bus drivers are older persons, who may have been more susceptible to COVID infection. Older drivers also often just want part-time employment.
School bus services:
SD62 provides school bus transportation to students who are registered by their families for that service. There is an annual $25 safety fee charged by the school district.
It is the responsibility of the parents/guardian to get their students safely to and from the bus stop that is provided for them.
Due to cost pressures in the overall SD62 budget heading into 2022-23
RCMP wants to hear from the SUV driver:
West Shore RCMP, reporting on their RCMP File 2022-8796, says they responded to a report of a student pedestrian injured following a motor vehicle collision at Royal Roads University on University Drive in Colwood. That was on Friday May 27, 2022 at 3:10 pm.
Prior to the collision, the 11-year-old student Hudson Judas departed a yellow SD62 school bus with its lights on and stop signals activated, says RCMP.
His mom, Kristina Judas, said her son was hit by the vehicle’s mirror and spun around, suffering a concussion and bruising.
The student’s family lives on the Royal Roads University campus. Judas said the bus driver called to Hudson to see if he was OK, but she has been told he didn’t get off the bus and instructed her son to “run home as fast as you can.”
The youth then crossed the street at the intersection through the cross walk and was struck by a blue late-model 4-door SUV which was passing the school bus on the left. The driver of the blue SUV stopped to render aid to the child, but departed prior to police or ambulance being called. “The police were later called by the child’s parents and the child was treated for minor injuries,” says Cpl. Chris Dovell, West Shore RCMP
Driver description is given as: Caucasian male, 55-60 years old, short grey hair, glasses, 5’6″ with stocky build.
Police are asking for the driver of the blue SUV and witnesses who observed the collision or have dash cam video to come forward to police. West Shore RCMP phone number: 250-391-3370.
Drivers are not allowed to pass a school bus when its flashing lights and stop sign are engaged. The fine is $368 for a first offence, $668 for a second and $1,000 for a third.
Dealing with $3+ million shortfall in 2022-2023 SD62 budget (April 20, 2022)
SD62 school bus challenges contribute to service shortfall (October 21, 2021)
Shortage of SD62 school bus drivers during pandemic (January 12, 2021)