Maryland School Kids at Risk? St. Mary’s County Police Say Drivers Ignoring School Bus Stop Signals

There are few things in life more precious than our youth. As the embodiment of the future of our world, children should be protected from the dangers that they have yet to appreciate. As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues are all too aware of the fragility of life. This view is based on the years of experience that we have representing victims of automobile and trucking-related traffic collisions, as well as pedestrian and bicycle injury accidents.

Through the decades, we as a society have developed laws and physical safeguards to protect the populace from physical injury or death caused by senseless and unnecessary traffic wrecks, not to mention other types of accidents that may result in personal injury. As motorists ourselves, we understand the dangers that every driver, passenger, pedestrian and bicyclist faces on our state’s roadways. For the children, this is doubly important because they do not always understand the hazards that you and I see as commonplace in everyday life.

Helping kids get to a stage in their own lives where they can recognize inherent dangers and avoid them is the job or parents, relatives, educators and our community leaders. Because traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of childhood fatalities in the U.S., it goes without saying that we should all obey the runs and regulations that protect not only these young lives, but also those of our friends and neighbors.

If only for this reason alone, we were distressed by the news coming out of St. Mary’s County the other day. According to news reports, the county’s sheriff office has received a number of complaints that indicated more than one motorist has failed to obey the operating stop signals on county school buses in the area. As everyone knows, these stop signals are for the benefit of the school children getting on and off of these buses.

Regardless of whether one doesn’t see such a stop signal, or feels that stopping for school bus loading or unloading is a needless and time-consuming activity, Maryland state motor vehicle law requires that drivers do stop and remain stationary for any school vehicle that is stopped with the familiar alternately-flashing red lights. Any violation of this law can result in a $570 fine and three points on one’s license.

It is important to remind motorists that when in doubt as to whether one should stop for a school bus or other school vehicle that has its warning light activated, we highly recommend that drivers err on the side of caution and not attempt to pass or otherwise drive near the school vehicle.

Obeying this particular regulation is important for all of us, parents and non-parents alike. The safety of the children should be everyone’s primary thought in such instances. Remember that the school year still has a ways to go before summer vacation, when children will be even more common near roadways and crosswalks in urban areas. In fact, there really is no time that drivers should not be aware of kids and other pedestrians when operating a motor vehicle.

Keep Kids Safe-Stop for Flashing Red Lights,, March 28, 2013

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