It cannot be said enough that extreme caution must be used when driving behind or approaching a stopped school bus.
There is nothing so urgent that a driver cannot wait a couple of minutes for children to board or exit a school bus. Parents want and expect drivers to follow the law when they see a school bus preparing to stop.
Most would think drivers have enough respect for children that they would abide by laws regarding buses, but unfortunately statistics suggest otherwise.
According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, nearly 80,000 vehicles in 26 states passed school buses illegally in a one-day observance.
One main area of concern in the Bowling Green area is stop arm violations. Since the Warren County Public Schools started Aug. 11, 15 violations have occurred. City schools see violations nearly every day. In 2013, there were 59 violations in the county. While no child was hit in any of these cases, what if one of these violations resulted in a terrible accident or death of an innocent child?
Drivers must slow down when they see the stop arm of a bus come open and wait patiently while kids are being loaded or picked up at a school bus stop. It’s not asking too much for drivers to exhibit patience and consideration for the lives of children when they see school bus lights flashing and its stop arm extended. Drivers need to remember that it is a state law to stop.
Looking at the state numbers in regard to drivers who violated the stop arm, it’s equally alarming that in 2012, 191 stop arm violations were issued. In 2013, 149 were issued and in 2014, 114 were issued.
Drivers who disobey stop arms on buses or their flashing lights are unnecessarily putting children’s lives at risk. Those who are issued citations hopefully learn from their actions and don’t repeat themselves.
At the end of the day, we want our kids to leave home and arrive at school safely.
Warren County Public Schools Transportation Director John Odom summed up the situation well when he said: “The one thing I would say would be to pay attention to the lights and the stop arm because that child’s life is precious and we don’t want a child hurt or killed in Warren County.”
Again, this isn’t asking much, and we do hope all drivers will abide by the simple task of being patient and letting our children get to and from school safely.
Our kids and their families deserve nothing less.
Bowling Green Daily News