With the new school year quickly approaching, drivers need to be reminded about school buses and student pedestrian traffic.
Sgt. Rich Myers of the Indiana State Police Putnamville Post said, "Motorists are required by state law to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children. Watch for school buses with their stop arm extended and red lights' flashing. That means stop, not proceed with caution."
This law applies for all types of roads. However, if there is a divider such as a barrier or median, only the vehicles traveling in the same direction are required to stop.
Disregarding a school bus stop signal is serious and violators will be ticketed.
It is up to drivers to be responsible for their actions. Being patient behind a school bus is sometimes hard. However, Myers wants to remind people, "If it were your child boarding a school bus, you would want motorists to use caution and stop."
Most pedestrian fatalities happen to children between the ages 5 and 7. The time of day of these accidents are concentrated between 7 until 9 a.m. and 2 until 5 p.m. This information comes from a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) between 1996 and 2006. During those two time periods, 131 pedestrians were killed with only 28 being killed the remaining 19-hours of the day.
Although motorists should be held accountable to uphold the law, it is also important for the students to know some means of safety.
Greencastle School Corp. Transportation Manager Dan Green said, "Drivers usually tell the kids on their bus to look at them and they will motion them when it is safe to cross. They also tell them to look both ways and not just run into the road when the bus is stopped. But we try to pick up the kids on the door side of the bus whenever possible and avoid major streets like Washington and Bloomington."
According to the NHTSA's Web site (www.nhtsa.dot.gov), In 1996, the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety conducted a probability--based sample survey of 250 school buses to estimate the total number of stop--arm violations in the state.
Drivers of 250 buses were asked to record stop--arm violations during a 41--school day time period.
The survey was completed and returned by 135 drivers who reported 3,450 violations.
Based on the findings, the estimated number of stop--arm violations each year in Illinois is over 1,900,000, making it a major traffic safety problem.
Another thing mentioned on NHTSA's Web site is that there are three layers to the problem: The law is not obeyed by motorists; Violations are not reported or are under reported by bus drivers and law enforcement agents.
The law is not enforced due to difficulty in catching the perpetrator, or their citation is thrown out in court when contested.
All Putnam County schools are set to be back in session on Thursday.