Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Remember those buses transport children

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 6, 2012 at 5:06 a.m.

It's not hard to see a school bus. A long, hulking, bright yellow vehicle equipped with flashing lights tends to stand out. But there are still drivers who seem to be ignorant of the rules of the road concerning these couriers of our children.

Seeing people speed past a school bus has spurred Tanya Asbury, who lives along U.S. Highway 87 South in the Bloomington school district, to begin filming drivers who do not stop for the bus that picks up and drops her children off every day for school. Although she has not turned any of the videos over to law enforcement, she hopes drivers will see her filming and stop for the bus.

We agree that drivers need to be aware of the rules of the road when it comes to school buses. These are not just more huge, slow vehicles to be danced around and passed in the driver's quest to reach a destination in record time. These buses carry children and should be treated with care and respect, the same way a person would treat a child.

According to Texas Transportation Code Section 545.066, drivers must stop for a school bus when the bus' stop sign is activated and may not move until the school bus resumes motion, the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed or the visual signal is no longer actuated. However, an operator on a highway having separate roadways is not required to stop for a school bus that is on a different roadway, or if on a controlled-access highway, for a school bus that is stopped in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway. Violating this law can result in a fine of $200-$1,000. If violating this law results in an injury, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor or a state jail felony if the person has been previously convicted of illegally passing a stopped school bus.

We urge drivers to be aware of the consequences of their actions when driving. Children are precious and need to be protected and valued. By disregarding the warning lights and stop sign of a school bus, drivers are disregarding the safety of every child on board, placing their lives in danger.

Please, take the time to protect children getting on and off a bus. We realize it is difficult to stop quickly when driving on a highway, but if drivers pay attention to the bus' warning lights, they will have plenty of warning and time to stop.

We ask our readers to always be aware of their surroundings when behind the wheel. When driving a multi-ton piece of metal at speeds of 70 mph, it is crucial that drivers stay focused and safe. For our children's sake, please respect school buses and stop, rather than risk a mistake you will regret for the rest of your life.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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