Request From Concerned Mother
|I have a little girl
(7 years old) that catches the bus almost every morning around 7:30. I
know this is a busy time, for everyone is trying to get to work, school
and many other places. But, I have a request, is it possible for everyone
that is in such a hurry to stop for the school bus when the lights are
on? I have made a point to start counting every time someone runs thru
the bus lights. In the last week, out of the 6 times my daughter caught
the bus, 4 of those times drivers did not stop. Can something be done?
Can the police monitor this? This problem could be a life or death matter
and I am quite concerned.
Thank your help, (Name Withheld By Request)
-- Sept. 14, 2006
Police Chief Comments (Including the Law)
|Thank you very much
for passing on the letter from the lady regarding the vehicle that passed
the school bus while loading/unloading children. This is an issue that
is of the utmost importance to this department, and sadly to say, one
that is violated rather frequently. Since you have a very popular website,
how about helping the community with an information article regarding
school buses. I think most people know that you cannot pass a school bus
while loading and/or unloading children, but they think nothing will happen
if they do not see a police officer.
What the driving public probably does not know is the school bus driver is required by law to report all violations that they witness, within 24 hours, to the municipal authorities. The Collinsville Police Department provides all bus drivers of the Collinsville School District forms to record any violation (s) they witness. Then, the law requires the police department to further pursue the violation act.
Ted, following is the Oklahoma State Statutes as pertains to school buses: Title 47, Section 11-705 (A), "The driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking a school buss that is stopped to take on or discharge school children, and on which the red loading signals are in operation, is to stop the vehicle before it reaches the school bus and not proceed until the loading signals are deactivated and then proceed past such school bus at a speed which is reasonable and with due caution for the safety of such school children and other occupants".
Following is the responsibility of the school bus driver: Title 47, Section 11-705 (D), "If the driver of a school bus witnesses a violation of subsection A, within twenty-four (24) hours of the alleged offense, the driver shall report the violation, the vehicle color, license tag number, and the time and place such violation occurred to the law enforcement authority of the municipality where the violation occurred".
Once we receive the report at the police department, we will act in accordance as to the requirements of this section.
As much as I would like to be able to observe every loading/unloading stop each bus makes, we both know this is impossible. Due to this department being very small, we have to rely on the community to help us enforce school bus safety. We as police officers cannot act unless the misdemeanor violation occurs in our presence. A citizen can accomplish the same results as the police officer by signing a compliant as to being a witness to an unlawful act. Since this requires a court appearance, most citizens decline this as "they don't want to get involved". I think this might well be the case in the lady that emailed you.
Ted, I will do everything I can to ensure the safety of everyone. That is our job, To Protect and To Serve. Please assure the lady of this department's commitment.
Any questions, please call me.
Collinsville Police Chief -- September 15, 2006