Thinking About Running The Buses Red Lights?
I would like to have a look at the school bus drivers worst enemy…The red light runner. No, I dont mean traffic lights…I am referring to the people who are off in fantasyland someplace and not paying attention and drive right by the bus when it’s stopped. It happens every single day…And it curls the blood of us bus drivers.
From our friends from Hillsborough County, Florida…This was a great video about the issues there in the Tampa area, not to mention Florida. Now, stop and think for a second, if there are that many violators there, then picture across the country…The number is huge…
Thanks to Hillsborough County and ABC4 News for making this informative video.
On the 11th of February, 2000 five year old Adam Ranger arrived at his residence on the school bus at the end of his school week. His brother Alex, who was twelve at the time, accompanied Adam on the bus. The Ranger residence is on Highway 17 East of the Town of Mattawa. The skies were blue and the sun was shining. Visibility was excellent.
After exiting the bus, Garry Larose, the bus driver drew Alex’s attention to a truck, which was coming towards the boys and apparently was not going to stop. The truck was driven by John Nikitin, then 63 years old of Sudbury. Nikitin had been working in Chaulk River and was on his way home to Sudbury. Adam made a run for home and made it across the roadway and into his driveway before being struck and killed by the one ton truck which was towing a piece of machinery. Little Adam was killed instantly in the collision. The police were subsequently called to the scene and began an investigation.
A Technical Traffic Collision Investigator was assigned and immediately commenced his investigation. From the investigation, it was determined that there was no evidence of braking anywhere near the scene. Further, there was a clear view of the full size bus, with all emergency lights flashing, for more than one thousand six hundred and fifty (1650) meters. (5410 feet)
Two years of painstaking investigation lead to a decision to pursue Unlawful Act Manslaughter as well as Criminal Negligence Causing Death as charges.
And Adams story is not the only one… Many children are hurt, and some, such as Adam, have their young lives cut short.
Did you know?
Every one of the 50 states as well as all of the Canadian Provinces, have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended that is stopped to load or unload students. However, some motorists simply choose to ignore the law.
They might be coming toward the bus, decide that no students are crossing the road, and just keep going.
They might be behind the bus, pull into the left lane, and go around the bus.
They might be behind the bus, pull onto the shoulder, and pass the bus on the right.
A one-day study was conducted in the State of Virginia.
On that day, 3,394 Virginia motorists illegally passed a stopped school bus. Multiplying the results by a 180-day school year brings the total number of illegal passings to over 600,000 a year.
Of the 3,394 total in September, 187 were right-side passes, on the side of the bus students use to enter and exit.
While the number of actual crashes caused by this violation is low, the potential for injury or death is high.
Bus drivers have been painfully aware of the frequent disregard for this law and since the 1990’s several states have commissioned studies to detail how many violations occur during a typical school day.
The numbers are staggering – many people “blow right past” stopped school buses each day.
Here’s two more movies to view. If this doesn’t hit home, I am not sure what will.
In this second movie, not one, not two, but THREE cars pass this bus. According to the drivecam, the warning lights were activated properly, and the stop sign was activated.
This is inexcusable…
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services released findings from its 2nd Annual School Bus Illegal Passing Driver Survey last month that indicate an increase in the number of motorists who blow past the school bus stop arm and flashing red lights despite fewer states and bus drivers participating.
Twenty-six states participated in the one-day count held from March 1 through May 31 of this year compared to 28 states last spring. The number of bus drivers who took part in the count while students loaded or unloaded the school bus also fell to about 100,000 from 112,000 in 2011. However, the total number of illegal passings rose to 39,616 from 37,756. Additionally, the state reports indicate that the total number of vehicles that illegally passed the school bus this year increased by about 1,200 to 77,876.
Summing up the standard law…
Congratulations to the State of Iowa!
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed “Kadyn’s Law,” under which bus-passing violators face a fine of up to $675 and up to 30 days in jail for a first offense. For a second offense within five years, the fine would be up to $1,875 with up to one year of jail time.
Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa-01) on Wednesday introduced the federal version of the bill.
The legislation would require states to strengthen their penalties for motorists who pass school buses with their red lights flashing and stop arm extended to the new Iowa standard at a minimum, or face losing 10 percent of federal highway funding each year.
“When reckless drivers ignore warnings and pass stopped school buses, children’s lives are put in danger,” Braley said. “Toughening penalties for drivers who violate school bus safety laws will save lives and convince more people to drive responsibly around kids and schools. It’s a commonsense change that rises above petty partisan politics.”
Braley went on to say that thanks to Kadyn Halverson, Iowa has become a national leader in school bus safety. (Halverson was struck and killed by a pickup truck last year as she was walking across a road to board her school bus. The law was named after her.)
“It’s time every state adopt these strict standards so the penalty matches the severity of this crime,” he added.
Here is a breakdown of Iowa’s Kadyns Law…About time a good set of laws are in place!
(School Bus Stop Arm Violation)
1st offense– Not less than $350 and no more than $750 and/or a year in jail.
2nd offense– (in a 5 year period of time)- fine of $750-$1,500 and/or up to a year in prison, suspension of license for 90 days.
3rd Offense- (in a 5 year period of time) Class D felony to include jail time. Fine of $750-$7500 and/or 5 years in jail suspension of license for 180 days.
Serious Injury By Vehicle – If a pedestrian is injured by someone overtaking a stopped school bus with the stop sign out and lights flashing, it would be a MANDATORY 5 years in jail, no probation, fine of $750-$7500,32% surcharge, court costs, $125 law enforcement surcharge, $100 to public service bus safety surcharge, restitution to injured person, 1 year license suspension. This is usually used for injury of person while driver is intoxicated. Overtaking a school bus would be added.
Vehicular Homicide 1 – If a pedestrian is killed by a driver overtaking a stopped school bus with the stop sign out and lights flashing, where NO drugs are found in the driver’s system, it would be a MANDATORY 15 years in jail, no probation, fine of $2,500-$10,000, 32% surcharge, court costs, $125 law enforcement surcharge, court costs,$100 to public service bus safety surcharge, restitution to victim’s estate, 4 year license suspension.
Vehicular Homicide 2- If a pedestrian is killed by a driver overtaking a stopped school bus with the stop sign out and lights flashing and ANY illegal drugs are found in the driver’s system, it would be a MANDATORY 25 years in jail, no probation, fine of $10,000, 32% surcharge, court costs, $125 Law enforcement surcharge, $100 to public service bus safety surcharge, $150,000 to victim’s estate, 6 year license suspension.
And finally, Here is a copy of the Federal Bill introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley
Perhaps this will finally make people realize the dangers that running the reds can cause. I will continue to support this cause on this website as I feel the more this gets out, the better.