RCMP were out on the roads Tuesday as school began across the Prince Edward Island, checking in with bus drivers, parents and students about road safety.
Traffic always increases the first week of school and drivers will once again have to stop when they see the red lights flashing on school buses.
"People all summer didn't see the buses on the road, so it's going to take a little bit of getting used to," said RCMP Const. Jamie Parsons.
"Our role today is to be out on the road and be seen."
Parsons said the biggest risk of getting into an accident is when kids are getting on or off the bus, especially if they need to cross the road.
He is reminding drivers to stop when they see the red flashing lights on the bus, and the stop sign swings out from the side.
"It doesn't matter which way you're traveling, either you're following the bus or you're coming towards the bus. When you see the red lights come on, you must stop," said Parsons.
$1K fine for driving past bus
A good rule of thumb, said Parsons, is to stop at least 20 metres from the bus.
"It gives you a field of view of where you can see up and down both sides of the bus … plenty of room to scan the area for potential hazards or dangers, kids running late for the bus," he said.
If you do drive by those flashing red lights, you run the risk of paying for it.
Conviction on a first offence carries a fine of $1,000 and the loss of 12 demerit points, which means your license will be suspended for at least three months, said Parsons.
Fines for subsequent offences can reach up to $5,000.
'Slow down and be alert'
Kelly Clow Prest was helping her son board the bus this morning near Stratford and said she's seen some near-misses around school buses in the past couple of years.
"It's just a good reminder to people to slow down and be alert and be mindful of what you're doing, especially when there's kids around and there's going to be a lot more traffic," said Clow Prest.
Parsons was out on the road at 6 a.m. and said the RCMP plan to continue to be on patrol and visible over the next few days.
He advises people driving to work around the same time school buses are picking up students to allow themselves some extra time.
"Sometimes traffic gets backed up quite a bit. So, rule of thumb is just to give yourself an extra 15 minutes or so," said Parsons.