You would do anything for your kids, right? (Or nieces, nephews, grandchildren, whatever the case may be.) Keep them safe, make sure they have a bright future, protect them…the list goes on. Yet this sentiment doesn’t seem to hold true on the road.
Motorists have a bad (and sometimes fatal) habit of passing school buses while their stop signs are extended.
During a one-day national survey, over 1,500 drivers in Washington State were logged passing school buses illegally. If caught illegally passing a school bus, drivers must pay a nearly $400 fine. According to state law, bus drivers are required to extend a stop sign and turn on flashing red lights in order to alert other drivers on the road that students are being received or discharged from the bus. As an extra precaution, buses are equipped with flashing yellow lights that can be turned on to warn drivers that the bus is slowing down as it is preparing to pick children up and go to school, or drop them off for home in the afternoon.
A factor for the large numbers of people passing stopped school buses is that many people do not fully understand the law. Motorists driving in the same direction as a school bus must stop at the same time. However, if a driver is heading the opposite direction of the school bus, they don’t need to stop unless it is a two-lane road. In other words, when a school bus is stopped on Union or Tenth in Kennewick, you don’t need to stop if you are driving the opposite direction. Stopping on the opposite side of the road creates a potential hazard for the following drivers that may not be expecting to stop.
Bus drivers have been trained to be on the lookout for cars speeding around them, and take extra precautions to keep bus riders safe as they are being received or discharged from the bus. Using common sense, motorists can safely assume that when a bus is stopped, children are either getting on or off the school bus, thereby reducing their driving speed and lowering the risk of hitting and injuring or killing a child. Arriving at work on time, or stopping by your favorite bakery (mine is Viera’s in Pasco) for an afternoon snack is not more important than the life of a young student. Leaving the house ten minutes earlier or planning for traffic in a commute will help everyone to drive safer as they are considerably more relaxed, less likely to be in a hurry and speed since there is no reason to rush, and accidents on the road will be greatly reduced.
If you have any questions or need an attorney regarding automobile-related accidents and injuries, give the attorneys at Anderson Law a call at (509) 734-1345.