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ACPS Preps Buses For 2019-20 School Year

August 19th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

Allegany County Public Schools will open for the 2019-2020 school year on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.  Nearly 6,000 students will ride school buses, and the school system’s transportation department has established 365 morning and afternoon routes for 115 buses that will travel more than 1.6 million miles this school year.

            According to the ACPS Supervisor of Transportation, Mark Morral, “Our number one priority is always student safety.  We need the community’s support to keep students safe.” Local law enforcement agencies throughout the county are also preparing for the start of the school year with a traffic enforcement campaign to keep students safe. The Maryland State Police will be working in collaboration with the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department, Cumberland City Police, Frostburg City Police and Frostburg State University Police by cracking down on aggressive driving and school bus violations.

            The Maryland Motor Vehicle Law requires the driver of a vehicle to come to a complete stop for a school bus loading or unloading students with the red warning lights activated.  When the red lights are engaged and the stop arm is employed, it means that students are getting on or off of school buses and motorists are to STOP.  Law enforcement will be patrolling school bus routes along county roadways where students will be boarding and offloading from buses as well as on school campuses throughout the county.

            Motorists are also advised that buses operate with an eight-light warning system.  School bus drivers flash their yellow amber lights at least 100 feet in advance as they approach a stop.  Their red warning lights are not activated until the bus has come to a complete stop.  Mark Morral states, “The message is clear – prepare to stop and do not run the warning lights.”  The fine for passing a stopped school bus while flashing its red light is $570 and three points on your driving record.

            The only time that a motorist does not have to stop for the red flashing warning lights of a school bus is on a solid divided highway.  If a median strip, a concrete wall, or any other physical barrier divides the road, motorists traveling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.   

            Parents and students are reminded to be vigilant of traffic hazards when walking to and from bus stops and to always walk on a sidewalk when possible. If no sidewalk is available, always walk as far off the roadway as possible, and walk so that you can see traffic coming towards you.

            To ensure that the school bus passing law never has a child’s name attached to it, it will take a community effort of parents teaching their children safe bus stop behavior; bus drivers exercising proper bus stop procedures; and all other motorists obeying the law.  Everyone’s goal is to make the 2019-2020 school year one with no injuries and a reduction in traffic violations while increasing awareness.

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