School bus laws

Editor:

Last week I received a phone call from a concerned citizen. The person was complaining that the school bus driver in her area was blasting her horn because drivers were passing the bus when the red lights were flashing. This happens mainly on Main Street, beyond the stop lights at the east end of town.

After discussing this concern with my transportation supervisor, we decided that perhaps many drivers do not realize they must stop when a bus is flashing the red lights, regardless upon which side of the road the bus is parked. In this case, many cars coming towards the bus see the lights, but may not realize that they need to stop because the bus and the students are on the opposite side of the road.

The Oregon Driver Manual 2004-2005 states, “When the red lights begin to flash, this means drivers meeting or overtaking the bus from either direction must stop before reaching the bus. You must remain stopped until the bus driver turns off the flashing red lights.” The only exception to this law is if there is a divided highway where two roads are separated by an unpaved median strip or barrier. An example of this exception would be in the middle of town where we have the flower boxes dividing the road. A painted median strip or a center lane used for left turns does not create two separated roads.

The district’s goal is that all of our children load and unload their buses safely. If a bus is flashing its light, all drivers need to realize that children are loading or unloading and caution must be taken. Hopefully, this article will clarify when a driver must stop for red flashing bus lights and will help prevent some drivers from getting ticketed by the police. And above all, it is hoped that all of our children are always transported to and from school as safely as possible.

Larry Horton

School District 55 Superintendent

Sweet Home

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