Approximately two weeks ago, while waiting in the queue of cars of parents and family members at dismissal time in front of St. John's Lane Elementary School, in Ellicott City, I was amazed and angered by what transpired.
With the dismissal of students at 3:15 p.m, and the daily rush of cars to pick up the kids, the entrance to the parking lot backs up, and traffic on St. John's Lane comes to a stop. As I awaited to turn left in to the parking lot, several vehicles, followed by two school buses, crossed the double yellow center line, to drive around the back-up in the wrong lane.
The story as described above is not the first time this has happened. I (and other parents) have seen passenger cars cross the double yellow in the past; I've notified the Howard County Police Department, and they're always very responsive. However, this was the first instance whereas I witnessed school buses crossing the double yellow line.
I know that the actions of a few bus drivers should not tarnish the reputation and service of the many dedicated, compassionate, thoughtful, patient, brave, rule-following and safe bus drivers. I am positive that the majority of bus drivers fit into this latter category, and for that, untold numbers of families are grateful that their children are transported to and from school safely, everyday, by these public servants.
However, intentionally crossing a double yellow line to avoid a minor back-up, is not a mistake. It is a decision that was made that potentially jeopardized the lives of those students not only on the bus, but those that might be "accidentally" hit head-on by the wrong-side of the road driver.
All the hardware, devices and sensors on school buses won't mean a thing if the driver makes that split-second bad decision, is "in a hurry" or knowingly disregards basic rules of the road.