Take Time and Be Patient
Although the summer season is far from over, summer vacation for most Nassau County students is coming to an end. And as we all know, the school year comes with a substantial increase in morning traffic.
Please allow an extra 10 or 15 minutes for their morning commute. The extra time will not only reduce stress but help keep our roads safer. Drivers are less likely to speed or engage in other dangerous driving habits when they aren’t running late.
'Operation Safe Stop' Means No Passing
In New York State, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the red hazard lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students.
According to SafeNY.ny.gov, drivers "must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds."
The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 to $400 fine, 5 points on your license, and/or possibly 30 days in jail.
The second conviction, within three years of the first conviction, can result in a fine between $600 and $750, along with up to 180 days in prison.
The third conviction, again within three years of the first conviction, can result in a fine between $750 and $1,000, along with another 180 days in prison.
Student Pedestrian Safety
The Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) suggests the following tips. Students riding a school bus should always:
- Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early.
- Stand at least 10 feet away from the edge of the road.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says its okay before stepping onto the bus.
- Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps or dangling objects do not get caught in the handrail or door when exiting the bus.
- Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus.
- Walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead.
- Be sure the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Stop at the edge of the bus and look left-right-left before crossing.
- Tell the bus driver if you drop something beside the bus. Should you try to pick it up, the bus driver may not see you and drive into you.
The NCPD has also suggested that motorists should:
- Be aware it is illegal in every state to pass a school bus stopped to load/unload students.
- Know and understand laws governing motorist's driving behavior near a school bus.
- Watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.
- Slow Down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops.
- Be Alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.