This week is school bus safety week and Washington State's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) says that, based on their survey, more drivers are ignoring school bus stop signs than ever beffore.
According to the OSPI, there has been a 10% increase of motorist violating the the school bus stop sign law when compared with last year.
Washington vehicle code RCW 46.61.370 requires:
The driver of a vehicle upon overtaking or meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a visual signal as specified in RCW46.37.190 and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.
On May 1, 2014, the OSPI did a survey in which they counted the number of cars that passed school buses with extended stop signs. In Bellevue where 51 bus drivers participated in the study, there were 66 vehicles that passed the extended stop. In Issaquah with 101 bus drivers participating in the count, 32 were passed and in Seattle with 384 bus drivers participating, 371 vehicles passed the buses.
State School Superintendent Randy Dorn says if the data recorded on May 1 was extrapolated then more than half million drivers are violating school bus stop signs in a school year.
Drive Safely Around School Buses
Since 2000, 130 school-age pedestrians have been struck and killed by school buses or other vehicles.
Be aware that when a school bus flashes its yellow lights, it is preparing to stop to pickup or drop off children. Drivers should slow down and prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicates that children are loading and unloading from the bus. Drivers must remain stopped until the red lights stop flashing and the stop sign is no longer extended. Be on alert that children might dart across the street at this time. Keep at least a 10 feet distance between your vehicle and a school bus at all times. Be patient and realize that the safety of school children is paramount.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a personal injury law firm with offices in Bellevue, Washington and we represent pedestrian accident victims and bus accident victims and their families.