There’s no excuse’: Family outraged after truck passes their children's stopped school bus
NORTH BAY -- It's become almost a regular frustration for a Marten River family. Vehicles are passing their children's stopped school bus with its red lights flashing while picking up their three sons to take them to school.
At 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, David Smetana was at the end of his driveway on Highway 11 and Richfield Road, making sure his three sons got to school safely. Suddenly a northbound transport truck blew past the stopped school bus while its lights were flashing and its stop arm was extended.
"Unfortunately, it seems like a regular occurrence and nothing gets done about it," said Smetana. “There’s no excuse.”
He recorded the incident on his phone, hopped in his truck, and followed the transport to get its license plate and vehicle description. He then called police.
A 54-year-old driver from Winnipeg faces charges.
"It's very frustrating. The law applies to anywhere on the highways, on city streets, or roads, regardless of the posted speed limits,” said OPP Const. Jennifer Smith. "Vehicles have to stop."
It's the fourth time this year the family had a close call with drivers failing to stop for the bus.
Last December, the family filmed a transport truck passing their stopped bus in the early hours of the morning. The family posted the video on social media and it went viral.
Police eventually charged that driver.
"Whether it's politicians, whether it's the hierarchy of the police service, or whoever, someone needs to do something about this," Smetana said. "It's just a matter of time before somebody gets seriously injured or even worse."
Ten incidents this year alone
The Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services said since September 2015, more than 350 illegal passing incidents were reported. Ten incidents have been reported so far this school year.
"The fines can range anywhere from $400-$2,000 and six demerit points for a first-time offence,” said Smith. “Each following offence is $1,000-$4,000. It’s the law."
Smetana said he fears for his sons’ lives and said there is no excuse for a driver to not pay attention to a stopped school bus.
"My oldest son likes to sit at the back of the bus and in the back of my head, I’m thinking it's the most dangerous spot because if the bus gets rear-ended by a transport, I don't even want to think about it,” he said.
Smetana is hoping that drivers get the message, reduce their speed and stop for the school bus.