Dear Weiser School District Patrons and Weiser community,
I have received many reports from our transportation department that vehicles are ignoring and/or passing our school buses when they have stopped to load and unload students. This has become a dangerous problem for our drivers and our students. It is happening to our buses both before school and after school. All of the roads that our buses travel are two lane roads and cars are required to stop in both directions when a bus is stopped and extends its stop arm and the lights are turned to flashing red. Our bus drivers turn their amber warning lights on 200 feet (or 8-10 seconds) before they come to a complete stop. The driver presses a release button for the door (to load and unload students), the exterior bus lights flash red, and the stop arm is extended. Many of our students have to cross both lanes of traffic to load and unload our buses. A vehicle that does not stop or who attempts to pass the bus puts our students in serious jeopardy if they fail to obey the flashing lights and stop arm.
No one wants to be involved in such an incident.
It can be a challenge for bus drivers, who are responsible for the safety of the children on their buses, to manage their buses and the students they are transporting, while monitoring oncoming traffic and the traffic approaching from behind, especially in bad weather conditions, in the dark, or in fog. It is a violation to pass or ignore a bus signaling a stop. Our drivers do an excellent job of being aware of their surroundings, but we have had too many incidents when drivers fail to respond to the flashing lights of a stopped bus. The fine for a violation ranges from $100 - $500 dollars. We would like to raise the public’s awareness of the problem in hopes that everyone will join us in ensuring the safe transport of our students to and from school. Local law enforcement has indicated that they will station themselves along bus routes at strategic times and locations, but we would like to inform and solicit the help of our patrons and the wider community to help us reduce the current number of incidents and the potential risk to our students.
Wil Overgaard, Superintendent
Weiser School District