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No need to be polite with motorists who flout school bus laws

A concerted effort is underway this year to persuade Georgia drivers to obey the laws requiring them to stop for school buses.

First lady Sandra Deal is doing her part, saying, “Unfortunately, each year children are injured or killed because of someone’s failure to obey bus safety protocol. We must always prepare to stop as soon as we see the signs that a school bus is getting ready to let children off. Our goal is to emphasize school bus safety not only to the students, teachers, and bus drivers, but to all drivers on the road. Please be cautious whenever you are sharing the road with a school bus, and remember to teach your children proper bus safety.”

And the Georgia Department of Education sent out a reminder to drivers to obey traffic laws on stopping for school buses:

As students return to school, the Georgia Department of Education and State School Superintendent Richard Woods are urging motorists to use caution when approaching a school bus and to brush up on the law regarding passing a bus.

According to Georgia law, vehicles traveling in BOTH directions must stop when a school bus activates its stop-arm on a two-lane road or a multi-lane road with no median or barrier. Vehicles traveling in the same direction as a schoolbus must always stop, but motorists traveling in the opposite direction can proceed (with caution) when there is an unpaved median or concrete barrier separating the opposing lanes.

“I urge the public to pay close attention to school buses and get familiar with the law regarding passing stopped buses,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Following this law may very well mean saving a child’s life. The safety of our students as they travel to and from school is of primary importance, and I ask for the participation of all Georgians in making sure our students can travel safely.”

“As our school buses begin to roll again, I urge drivers to be alert and exercise patience and caution, especially around children waiting at school bus stops or loading and unloading school buses,” Superintendent Woods said. “Patient, informed, and law-abiding drivers ensure that our children can arrive safely at school each day, ready to learn.”

DOE is being too polite. I see impatient motorists every day going around school buses and endangering children. I suggest DOE consider my editing of its statement:

To the drivers who don't stop for school buses and threaten children's lives:

You are not only stupid, self-centered and pathetic. You are dangerous. Stop it or we will throw you in jail.

If we had rocket launchers on our cars, we'd aim them at you.

Signed, Your friends at DOE.



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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.