xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Authorities remind motorists of back-to-school safety

With all Carroll County Public Schools open today for the new school year, authorities and traffic enforcement officials are reminding motorists to keep safety a priority while driving on county roads.

"We ask all drivers to be alert for and cautious around students standing at bus stops," said school system Superintendent Stephen Guthrie. "We ask that drivers, allow more time for their daily commutes the first week of school."

More than 300 buses, as well as parents and inexperienced student drivers will be on county roads this week, Guthrie said.

Buses may also be beginning their commutes at different times this year because of the revised transportation routes and earlier start times for some schools.

This year, approximately 27,500 students are enrolled in Carroll County public schools, and nearly 26,500 of them will be using a school bus for their transportation, according to the school system's website.

Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said it is vitally important motorists are aware and reminded that school has resumed.

"It's something that we have to make people aware of every year because we do have situations that are either tragic or could certainly quickly turn tragic involving motorists who aren't aware of children out on the roadside, or the laws that related to school buses that are out there operating," Shipley said.

According to the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code, when a school vehicle has stopped on the roadway and is operating its alternately flashing red lights, the driver of any other vehicle must stop at least 20 feet from the school vehicle.

The law also states that the driver of any other vehicle may not proceed until the school vehicle resumes motion or the alternately flashing red lights are deactivated.

A citation of $570 and three license points are assessed to violators who fail to stop for a stopped school vehicle with its red lights operating.

For violators who initially stop for the school bus, but don't remain stopped and pass the bus while its lights are still operating, the same $570 citation is issued and two points are assessed on their license, according to Shipley.

"The bottom line is it deals with concerns for children safely getting on and off the bus and crossing the street," Shipley said. "The bus driver is trying to provide a safety barrier with those red lights for those kids to get back and forth across the street and we need to be mindful of that."

The highest volumes of children are walking the streets before and after school, especially during the afternoon hours between 3 and 7 p.m., according to a press release issued by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, State Highway Administration and AAA Mid-Atlantic.

"Motorists should pay close attention while in neighborhoods and designated school zones, especially in the mornings and afternoons when schools open and close," MVA Administrator John T. Kuo said in the release. "Most school transportation-related accidents occur while children are getting on or off a school bus, which is why it is important for motorists to obey the law and come to a complete stop when meeting a stopped school bus or approaching one at an intersection with the red lights flashing and stop arm extended."

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement