Once we earn our driver’s license, and begin to gain confidence and experience behind the wheel, the rules of the road begin to fade from our thoughts. We kind of know traffic regulations, but do we really follow them? The answer is no. At least not based on what we witness daily on our crowded roadways. Bad driving habits and discourteous behavior abounds.
Let me remind you of one easy New York State regulation: You cannot pass a school bus, when its red warning lights are displayed, from either direction. Even on a multilane, divided highway.
YouTube videos show this egregious violation that puts students at risk. The worst are when drivers pass on the right, where children exit the bus. One upsetting clip shows an alert bus driver grabbing a student and snapping the door shut as he’s about to step off; a split second later, a car whips by.
Nationwide, it is estimated that 50,000 vehicles illegally pass buses every day. Think about the potential for tragedy.
We get it. Everybody’s in a hurry. We chafe at any delay. We seethe when stuck behind slow-moving vehicles, obstacles that add a couple of minutes getting to our destination. For many drivers, school buses are nuisances, especially if you are behind one on its pick-up or drop-off route.
But if you decide to break the law, the law will mete out punishment. Any day now, Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign a bill co-sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) that will put cameras on the buses’ extending stop-arm. It will, according to the legalese, “impose liability on owners of motor vehicles for overtaking and passing school buses.”
Another bill that the Democratic majority is sponsoring will increase the penalties for overtaking and passing a school bus, hitting violators in their wallets.
We often violate traffic regulations and good driving habits in minor ways. But when it comes to those yellow vehicles carrying our children, please play it safe and follow the law.