Avoid that warning ticket

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All would agree that keeping safe the littlest ones in our community is an imperative — that’s why laws specifying how to behave on the roadways in the presence of a school bus are on the books. If the school-bus sign says “stop” then every driver around it must stop regardless of whether their vehicle is behind the bus or in an oncoming lane. The only exception to the rule is on roads with more than four lanes where there is a clear median or turn lane, and even then it’s only oncoming traffic that doesn’t have to stop.
The law applies to every street, highway and public vehicular area. Public vehicular area? That’s legalese for a parking lot.
It’s come up in Aurora lately — drivers not knowing what to do in a public parking lot where children are being picked up or dropped off, hopping on or off the school bus all at once. In small towns and rural places, this is often the first step to getting children to school: the school bus arrives at a designated spot, children get out of waiting cars and head to the bus line and the drivers, relieved of their charges, drive off.
But they shouldn’t drive off. Every car near that bus should stop and stay stopped until the bus’ mechanical stop sign is retracted and the bus is in motion.
This week, a warning ticket was issued to one of those drivers who drove off without waiting for the “go” sign. What should be an even greater warning ticket is that violating this particular rule of the road is a misdemeanor. Hitting any person with a vehicle while violating it is a felony.
Let’s continue to place the young ones’ welfare first by following the rules of the road — even when we’re in a parking lot.