Drivers are required by law to come to a complete stop once a school bus extends its stop arm. Sadly, many drivers fail to do so. As a result, children's lives are put at risk. The challenge, however, is catching the perpetrators and holding them accountable. One school district in Maryland is leading by example, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The sheer number of violators should be a wake-up call for all
In 2018, more than 54,000 drivers who illegally passed buses in Montgomery County were in for a surprise when they received tickets in the mail. They were caught by special cameras mounted on the school buses, which are effective for capturing the license plates of drivers who pass when the stop arm is extended.
What's even more disturbing, the footage captured by Montgomery County school bus cameras in August showed one student getting struck while crossing the street. Several others were nearly struck.
School districts seek solutions for students' safety
This proven method for protecting our children is something the Baltimore-area school districts may want to look into.
In an email to The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore school district spokesperson Abby Lane wrote, “Baltimore City Public Schools takes seriously the safety of our transportation services for our students, and we are continuing to explore options to help address this issue, including the possibility of putting cameras on school buses.”
Currently, Baltimore police issue paper citations, but don't necessarily track school bus violations. Overall, police in Baltimore County only issued seven warnings in 2018 and no citations.
Each year in April, the Maryland State Department of Education administers a one-day audit of drivers illegally passing school buses. Since only some school bus drivers voluntarily participate, the findings don't necessarily represent the true number of statewide violators, but they do reveal how prevalent the problem is. In 2019, approximately 3,194 violations were reported in one day — 178 of which were observed in Baltimore.
“If a stop sign is extended on a school bus and red lights are flashing, students are likely nearby and could be crossing the street. We ask all motorists to look up and look out for our nearly 115,000 students as they travel to and from school,” said Baltimore County school district spokesperson Brandon Oland.
An aggressive attorney will fight to hold school bus violators accountable
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers school buses to be the safest form of transportation for students, but an average of 124 people die each year in school transportation crashes. About 10 percent of those deaths involve school bus occupants.
If you or your child was injured in a crash because of someone else's reckless behavior, get an attorney on your side who can fight for you and get results. The legal team at Mike Slocumb Law Firm has a reputation for aggressively representing injured motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users. We have law offices in Alabama, Baltimore, Mississippi, Denver, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Schedule your free case evaluation with us today. Contact us online to learn more.