September means back to school!
There is something so special about the month of September. It feels like a fresh start even if you've been done with school for years.
We live in Montgomery County Maryland and our house is a few blocks away from the school bus stop. It's so sweet to see the elementary school kids waiting for the bus sporting their brand new backpacks and happy faces. They're excited to be with their friends and not paying any attention to the cars that drive past.
I've noticed that some drivers speed up to get past the bus stop before the bus flashes red lights. At the same time, I've watched children run across the street to the bus stop so they can board the bus. This could be a deadly combination of events so I'm writing a little public service announcement for drivers everywhere!
Here are the basics for understanding school bus laws when following or approaching a bus
- Be prepared to stop. Yellow flashing lights are activated 100-300 feet before the bus is going to stop. Don's speed up to get past the bus at this time since children could be crossing the street to board the bus.
- Stop when the bus lights flash red. For drivers who ignore this law in Montgomery County Maryland, a camera-generated fine is $250. A citation issued by a police officer is $570 with three points on the driver's license.
- Two lanes of traffic mean all cars should stop in both directions.
- Multi-lanes of traffic - drivers in both directions must stop.
- Divided highway with dirt, grass or some type of barrier median require drivers behind the bus (going in the same direction) must stop. Drivers traveling in the opposite direction must drive cautiously.
Last year, the 2017-2018 school year, there were 500 buses with cameras. According to Montgomery County Police, 7,919 drivers, in the first 40 days of the school year, were recorded illegally passing school buses. Not only is this an expensive mistake for the driver, it's reckless since the driver could injure or kill a child.
Nothing is more important than driving safely when school is back in session.