New York – The state sponsored Operation Safe Stop program was created in order to prevent student pedestrians from getting hit by a car. Officials explain that many children have been struck by a vehicle when getting on or off their school bus, especially when they try to cross the street. Parents, police and lawmakers teamed up to improve safety for kids by passing driver safety laws and forming programs such as this one. The law in New York State says that it is illegal to pass a school bus that has its red lights flashing. This law applies to all vehicles, including cars, trucks and other buses. Many yellow school buses have added a red stop sign that swings out on the driver’s side when the red lights are activated. However, this is not necessary and the law applies even when there is no stop sign or if it is broken. The requirement to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights applies to vehicles approaching from in front of as well as behind the bus. It even applies to vehicles on the opposite side of a divided highway with many lanes as well as in school parking lots. Experts say that whenever the red lights are activated, it means that the bus driver is letting students on or off the bus, creating a potentially dangerous condition should the child run across the street. They note that the shorter height of kids prevents drivers from seeing them, especially when they walk out from behind a tall bus. The goal of the Operation Safe Stop program is to bring awareness to the law and the dangers of passing a school bus. Ultimately, organizers hope that the awareness program will prevent accidents, injuries and wrongful death by cracking down on reckless driving behavior. Police say that tickets with hefty fines will be issued to dangerous drivers that do not obey the law. If you witness illegal driving, such as illegally passing a school bus, contact the police to report it. If you or someone you know was injured due to a negligent driver, you have the right to contact an accident lawyer to discuss your case. Local police throughout the area are planning on participating in this safe driving program on April 3, 2014 with high hopes of preventing pedestrian accidents.
Illustrative photo by Bernd Moehle (Flickr: School bus) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons