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ACPS Encourages Motorists to Obey School Bus Laws

August 23rd, 2022 by WCBC Radio

Allegany County Public Schools will open for the 2022-2023 school year on Wednesday.  Nearly 6,000 students will ride school buses traveling more than 1.5 million miles this school year.

            According to the ACPS Supervisor of Transportation, HB Martz, “Back to school is an exciting time, and it’s up to all of us to keep our roads safe. Whether you are in your neighborhood, on the road, or in a school parking lot, driving with extra caution at peak times for school buses can help keep everyone safe.” Allegany County Public School buses’ peak operating times are between 6-8:30 a.m. and 2-4:30 p.m.

            The public plays an important role in creating a safe environment as school buses pick up and drop off students. School buses are among the safest modes of transportation, but it is when children are walking to a stop or getting on or off a bus that they are most at risk.

            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.  Mr. Martz 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 2022-2023 school year one with no injuries and a reduction in traffic violations while increasing awareness.