School bus stop signs mean stop
Marion police investigated reports of vehicles passing school buses while the stop sign arm was outstretched in September.
Assistant Chief Clinton Jeffrey said there is a common misconception about school bus stop signs.
“It was couple younger drivers that didn’t know the law,” Jeffrey said. “Many people think a school bus stop sign is like a normal stop sign, where you can stop and then proceed on your way once the way is clear, but it’s not the same. You have to stop until the sign goes back in and the [school bus’s flashing] lights turn off.”
Vehicles must come to a complete stop on both sides of the street so children can safely cross to and from the bus.
The fine for breaking the law is $400 plus $95 court fees. State penalties apply if the law is broken outside of city limits.
County attorney Susan Robson said the state fine is up to $500 and one month in jail for improper passing of a school bus.
The fine is set high to help deter people from breaking the law, Jeffrey said. However, it is rare that people fail to stop for a school bus.
“It very rarely happens,” Lee Leiker, USD 408 transportation supervisor, said. “We have had a couple occurrences though.”
Leiker said some school busses pick up some USD 408 students in residential areas who have special needs.
“The buses pick up kids at their houses,” he said. “Some drivers may not be used to seeing a bus stop there and don’t realize that they can’t go around.”
In Hillsboro, transportation director Karen Goossen said USD 410 has had a few instances of motorists passing buses while stop arms and lights are engaged.
“We’ve had some happen with both old and young drivers but it’s pretty rare,” Goossen said. “Last year there was a little problem on Indigo Rd.”
While it may be hard for bus drivers to identify drivers when it happens, she said if it becomes a recurring issue police are alerted and asked to patrol the area to help curb the problem.