Majority Of Md. Drivers Not Stopping When School Bus Stop Arm Is Extended

But Frederick County motorists seem to be  bucking that trend.


Baltimore, Md (KM) The latest survey of school bus drivers around the state is not good news when it comes to motorists and school bus safety. The Maryland State Department of Education says this year, there were 3,812 violations by motorists who did not stop when the stop arm from the school bus  was extended. That’s an increase from  3,384 in 2017.

MSDE spokesman Bill Reinhard says this is a decrease compared to 2016, when 4,334 motorists didn’t stop for the school bus when the stop arm was extended; and that’s down from 2011, when that number was 7,011. “We think the word is getting out  that drivers need to be aware.  They need to remind themselves that when the lights start flashing on the bus and the arm comes out, they can’t pass that bus,” he says.

Reinhard also says motorists who are traveling in the opposite lane without a median in the center of the road must also stop. “Drivers that are approaching a bus from the opposite direction and see the kids getting on from one side of the street, and I think they mistakenly think ‘well, there’s no kids around. I can just drive right on through on the opposite side.’ But kids dart in and out of traffic while waiting for the bus,” he says.

He says it doesn’t take long for driver when they  stop while students are getting on or off a school bus. “It’s just a few seconds for the most [part . Drivers really aren’t delayed very long, and the safety of our kids is very much at stake here. We really want drivers to be aware,” he says.

But Reinhard notes that Frederick County driers appear to be bucking that trend. “We had really good news for Frederick County. Last year, they observed 93 violations . This year just 59. So that’s a real good sign,” he says.

Montgomery County had the highest number of violators at 1,038. Last year, Baltimore County topped the survey, but this year it came in a distant second at 677.

The survey was conducted by MSDE in April, along with school transportation directors in all 24 counties.. The agency says more than 80% of school bus drivers took part.

October 22nd through the 26th is School Bus Safety Week.


By Kevin McManus