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2014 survey shows motorists continue to pass stopped buses

8/25/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

TOPEKA -- The National Association of State Directors for Pupil Transportation Services recently released the results of its annual survey of illegal passing of school buses. Kansas was one of 29 states to participate in a one-day survey of school bus drivers who were asked to report the number of times motorists passed school buses illegally. More than 97,000 school bus drivers reported a combined total of 75,966 vehicles passed their buses in a single day. Throughout a 180-day school year, these sample results point to more than 13 million violations by private motorists.

In Kansas, 2,221 school bus drivers reported a total of 798 instances of motorists illegally passing school buses in a single day.

"With schools back in session and kids getting on and off buses, it is even more critical for drivers to slow down, be vigilant and follow the law," said Keith Dreiling, Kansas State Department of Education school bus safety director. "Motorists should never pass a school bus with its stop sign engaged and lights flashing. It only takes a split second to make a bad decision that could change lives forever."

School bus drivers activate the warning lights (amber lights) prior to activating the red flashing lights and stop arm, allowing drivers time to slow down and stop. Drivers are not to proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights and the stop signal arm are no longer actuated. The public should be aware anytime they see a school bus with its warning system activated they are in close proximity of school children. Under Kansas statute, drivers who choose to disregard school bus warning systems might be subject to a $315 fine, plus court costs -- which range from $108 to $110.