Strobe lights are in place on all of the buses in the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division.
The 80 buses were equipped with strobe lights and reflective tape as of Aug. 31, at a cost of close to $85,000 in provincial government funding, after an Alberta government report recommended adding the extra safety precautions.
The lights reflect against water, fog or ice crystals in the sky to create a visible dome of light around the bus, even in the worst weather conditions.
“The safety of our students is always the most important thing,” said Christine Moore, chair of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division board. “The government has been great in equipping our buses with all of this.”
Moore said it is particularly important for the division to have the added safety precautions because it is a regional division.
In April 2008, a student in the Wolf Creek Public school division, Jennifer Dawn Noble, 17, was killed and two students were injured after an empty gravel truck westbound on Hwy 53 struck an SUV that had stopped behind a school bus that was stopped to pick up passengers. Conditions were foggy.
The driver of the gravel truck, Peter Oliver Jorgensen, 28, of Bluffton, was found guilty and fined $2,000 for careless driving in Rimbey provincial court last week. The operator of the school bus was charged with failing to unload and load at safe times and places and awaits trial.
After the collision, the province released a report with 10 recommendations in the Student Transportation Safety Study, with $7.5 million to implement the changes.