(Ed. Note: This post is a press release from the Mercer Island School District.)
MERCER ISLAND, Wash. – October 1, 2013 – Despite the safety risk for students and the threat of a $394 ticket, many motorists and cyclists still ignore school-bus stop signs.
“It happens more than once a day on Mercer Island,” said Mercer Island School District (MISD) Director of Transportation Todd Kelsay. “The most significant dangers are drivers in a hurry, on cell phones and, surprisingly, people who do not realize it is the law to stop.”
to a recent report from the Office of Superintendent of Public
Instruction, Washington drivers reported over 1,500 passing violations
on a chosen day. As the Seattle
Times reported, “In a single day last May, Seattle school-bus drivers
reported that 320 vehicles passed them illegally while they were stopped
with signs extended and red lights flashing — including 15 motorists
who passed on the right side where students
get on and off.”
MISD bus driver Tom Dahlstrom says he is often passed while stopped between one and three times a week.
“The most potentially dangerous time for a student isn’t when they are on the bus, it is when they loading and unloading,” Kelsay continued. “Drivers should stop well ahead of or well behind the bus when the red lights are flashing and the stop paddle is out. Also, most cyclists ignore the stop paddle despite it being the law for them as well. For the safety of our students, any reminder is a good reminder.”
When drivers and cyclists see a school bus stopped with red lights flashing and a stop sign extended, they must stop when traveling in the same direction or traveling in the opposite direction on a two-lane road.