Deb Ranger says motorists are continuing to play “Russian Roulette,” and she fears another family will endure a lifetime of heartbreak.
Ranger lost her son 21 years ago, but the pain hasn’t lessened. It resurfaces daily.
Ranger’s son, Adam, was killed on Feb. 11, 2000, at the age of five.
The blond-haired boy died when a motorist failed to stop for a school bus and struck him as he was crossing Highway 17 in front of his home in Mattawa.
Ranger said she feels “discouraged” after hearing there were more than 19 recorded incidents, in only four outings, of people choosing to put children’s lives in danger by not stopping for the school bus.
“After hearing of all the incidents of drivers disobeying the law, not stopping for the school buses, basically not caring at all whether children are safe, I felt extremely discouraged and feared greatly for the safety of all those children just trying to go to and from school,” Ranger told The Nugget in an email Monday.
“My family and many who have tirelessly supported us over these 17 years, my youngest son Adam’s ‘Let’s Remember Adam Stop for The School Bus’ campaign, have worked so hard to have Adam’s voice heard, to have OUR voices heard. Trust me, no one wants to carry this pain my family and I feel daily because one driver didn’t STOP for Adam’s bus,” she said.
“It is literally Russian Roulette. You are gambling with the life of a child, and the happiness of their family when you decide to not pay attention and stop.”
The Ranger family has worked hard to ensure no other family has to endure the type of pain they’re living with.
The family was instrumental in lobbying municipalities and the province to pass legislation allowing school bus operators the choice of installing cameras on buses to record the licence plates of vehicles that fail to obey flashing red lights.
Regulations written by the province and Ministry of Transportation now leave it up to individual municipalities to determine whether they want cameras installed.
Mattawa was the first in Ontario to require school buses be equipped with cameras, going withBusPatrol, a U.S.-based company that says it has deployed the most school bus stop-arm camera systems in North America.
“I honestly think we need the government to make it law that there should be stop-arm cameras on all school buses,” Ranger said. “This would eliminate situations like we are in now where many municipalities are looking the other way, not taking steps to ensure the safety of children in their towns and cities going to and from school. Seems most have to be literally forced to step up and protect those most vulnerable.”
She said when thoughts of her son’s death come to mind, the pain is “raw, just like the day he was horrifically taken from me.
“I have learned that will never change. I guess that is why my fear for other families and children is so strong. I would not wish this pain (on) anyone,” she said.
“Adam would be 26 years old now. If he were given the chance to have grown, my mind wonders what type of man he would be now. Would he have children? These are questions I will never find answers to. They will haunt me forever. All because one driver didn’t stop for the school bus.”