Maryland School Bus Drivers Stress Safe Driving - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland School Bus Drivers Stress Safe Driving

Posted: 11/20/2017 16:22:00 -05:00 Updated:
The top of a Wicomico County School Bus. (Photo: WBOC) The top of a Wicomico County School Bus. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md. - With the school year nearing the halfway point, school bus drivers in Maryland say following school bus laws is just as important now as it is ever.

"One of the dreaded things you see as a driver is a car approaching your bus either from the rear or from the front with your amber lights on and you have a pretty good feeling they're not going to make the stop," says Wicomico Public Schools bus driver and contractor John Hales.

Hales says drivers not stopping when they're supposed to is a frequent issue.

In Somerset County, it's a similar issue for bus driver Loren Hoffman. 

She says the biggest issue she notices behind the wheel is drivers cutting her off.

"It just seems like people are like, they see a school bus and they freak out and think they're going to be held up by us so they can get a little crazy sometimes," says Hoffman.

Somerset County Public Schools transportation officials report an average of five violations per week.

That's why John says it's important drivers brush up on Maryland's school bus laws.

On a two-lane roadway in Maryland, all traffic from both lanes must slow down once those yellow lights start flashing. That's typically one-hundred feet before a stop.

Once the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is out, all drivers must be at a full stop.

That's also the case for vehicles driving down a four-lane roadway without a median separation.

The Maryland Department of Transportation says the greatest risk for danger isn't on the bus, but rather when kids are approaching the doors or stepping off.

"One of the biggest violations is when you're coming to a stop -- you've activated your amber lights and you feel the car coming toward you doesn't see you because they're not slowing down -- and you have kids that once you stop are going to cross over," says Hales.

Possible tragedy that can be avoided by knowing "the danger zone."

State transportation officials say children should stay at least ten feet away from the bus and never go behind it.

They should also take ten giant steps in front of the bus before crossing, so they can be seen by the driver.

All laws and regulations somerset school bus driver trainer Bernard Johnson says the county takes very seriously.

"We work very well with the local law enforcement agencies. We'll call the jurisdiction that the violation occurs in and they will usually give those persons a citation," says Johnson.

Somerset County Public Schools says it is also working to install cameras on its school buses to catch violators.



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