'Too close': N.B. school bus driver rails against distracted driving after near-miss
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown
Published Friday, May 24, 2019 5:27PM EDT
A New Brunswick school bus driver took to Facebook Live to rail against the dangers of distracted driving after a child was nearly hit on his way to school.
Nancy Hemphill, a bus driver in Woodstock, N.B., said in the video that she was stopped for the student in front of his home on Wednesday morning with the bus’ red flashing lights activated and stop sign extended when the incident occurred.
“I see a vehicle out of the corner of my eye, on my right, so it’s coming up from behind on the right-hand side of the bus, in his driveway,” she recounted. “He had to jump out of the way of that vehicle.”
Hemphill said that the driver, who appeared to be both speeding and distracted, clipped the rear of the bus and drove along the shoulder of the road, nearly striking the student as he tried to board the bus.
“It was too close,” Hemphill said. “My stomach is still sick from what could have happened.”
None of the 19 students on the bus at the time of the incident were injured. The 14-year-old boy who was boarding the bus was also unhurt. The bus sustained minor damage, so the students were switched to another one.
The union representing bus drivers in the province said that drivers witness close calls like this one at least once a week.
New Brunswick RCMP said the driver ended up in the ditch, but was not fined or charged.
Hemphill joins a chorus of voices across the country warning drivers to be more attentive after a rash of near-misses involving children boarding school buses.
Earlier this week, for instance, police charged a 37-year-old woman in London, Ont., after she allegedly passed a stopped school bus, nearly hitting a child.
Concern about such incidents has ratcheted up so much in Ottawa that Mayor Jim Watson announced on Friday that school buses in the city will be equipped with four motion-sensor cameras in order to catch drivers who illegally pass the vehicles.
The program was launched after a two-month pilot project in 2016 found that an average of five drivers a day illegally pass school buses.
“People, please share this video because there is nothing more important than our children and grandchildren,” Hemphill said.
“If we don’t look out for them and take care of them, who will?” she added.