March 31, 2011
Some startling data was recently revealed by the Maryland State Department of Education (DOE) regarding the driving habits of our residents. Apparently, numerous motorists simply ignore the bright flashing lights and extended red stop sign school buses use to warn they are stopping to pick up or drop off a student.
A statewide survey administered by the DOE revealed that on any given day there are a whopping 7,028 violations of motorists failing to stop for buses. The traffic infractions broke down in the following manner. 3,997 oncoming drivers drove past the outstretched stop sign, 2,665 drivers whizzed around a stopped school bus via the driver’s side and 366 motorists passed a stopped bus on the other side, where children enter and exit. State law mandates that traffic must cease in both directions, but it turns out many us can’t spare a few precious moments to adhere to the law.
Many are stating a lack of awareness is the reason behind these astonishing numbers. There are talks about using legislation to help curtail the survey findings. A bill increasing fines and points for passing a bus, current law states a $570 fine and 2 points, has been submitted. There are also talks within the State Assembly to have schools install cameras on their buses as part of a pilot program to catch offenders.
It is unknown whether these violations lead to an increase in school bus related accidents. While obviously any Maryland auto accident attorney loves business, we can all agree that safety should be everyone’s number one priority.