New law can help prevent accidents with school buses

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2006

By Staff
A red octagonal sign plus a big yellow bus should mean one thing to all drivers: STOP.
Sadly, not everyone takes the time to halt when children are getting on and off school buses or church buses.
But a new bill Gov. Bob Riley is expected to sign today toughens the penalties for that failure to stop.
The first conviction means a fine of up to $300. But subsequent convictions could yield community service time, stiffer fines and even suspension of your driver license. School and church buses are included in the bill.
Motorists must be aware of children getting on and off buses. In the past decade, three children in Alabama have died because drivers failed to stop when the children were exiting or getting on a bus. Who knows how many accidents or near misses there were?
Any one incident would be reason enough for the new law.
Billy Hines, assistant to the Escambia County Schools superintendent, said he hopes the law makes motorists more aware of school bus safety in general.
We do, too. And while tough fines and other penalties shouldn't be the reason to adhere to safety measures around children, perhaps the new law will help prevent injuries or even deaths.