We can all do better - some of us can do A WHOLE LOT better...
Driving today is a lot different than it used to be!! There are so many distractions to consider...
- Cell phones and 'aux' cords
- Satellite radio flipping
- GPS devices and apps
- Scrolling message boards
- Perpetual construction
- Flapping feather banners
- Confusing intersections, etc.
There's been a disturbing national trend over the past several years, drivers taking our big yellow school buses for granted. Twice since the 2016-17 school year has begun, I've heard the blaring horn of a bus honking at a driver who's unaware or unconcerned they're driving past in the oncoming lane.... once on Grange Hall Road and once on Kemp Road. I'm not insinuating that the drivers of the vehicles were Beavercreek residents, but am immensely concerned about the students who are.
We can all slow life down a bit. Victims, when they have the opportunity, express that their traumatic event happened in the blink of an eye. Kids are quick! They can dart into view in an instant... or into the path of a vehicle. There are literally dozens of buttons within my reach in the driver's seat, each can take my eyes from the road for a couple of decisive seconds. Pay attention to what's going on down the road... especially near bus stops and in school zones.
There are some dramatic and frightening dashcam examples on YouTube demonstrating some of the worst close-calls (watch it, then watch it again), complete morons, instant karma as well as creative sentences for offenders (here's the sting set up by the bus driver!). Obviously the lady in the last video isn't taking her punishment very seriously, but at least she's gone viral as a special kind of idiot.
The rules aren't mere suggestions, they're Ohio Revised Code! It's pretty simple... AMBER flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop. RED flashing lights mean that the bus is stopped and actively loading or unloading. This is certainly not a case where seeing a yellow light means 'accelerate' like so many do to avoid a stoplight. Unless you're on a four-lane divided highway or a four-lane road, you STOP regarless of direction you're traveling. If you're unsure what to do, err on the side of caution and stop your d@#n car!
So how do you get violator's attention? Blare your own horn at them?! It's likely more an issue of deterance than prevention, as there's no physical way to stop someone from passing a stopped school bus - regardless of the direction they're traveling. Sixteen states have approved exterior mounted cameras (CBS news story) on school buses. The NTSB estimates that 13,000,000 violations happen per year where drivers break the laws of navigating around school buses; they also report an average of eight student deaths per year. Eight too many. Texas has approved use of the cameras in the above linked CBS story, with citations costing $300 each. The proceeds of the citation are divided at a rate of 60% to the camera company and 40% to the municipality. Critics call it a money making scheme, advocates call it effective.
We need to do it all the time, but especially between 6:30 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday. It's exceedingly rare that a minute or two will make a significant difference in arriving at your destination. I'm dating myself a bit but hey, let's be careful out there.
P.S. - A citation for a first-time offense will cost you at least $140 in Beavercreek, plus a mandatory appearance in front of a judge in Fairborn Municipal Court!