The following information has been adapted from the August edition of the Cobb Police Department’s Precinct 4 PENS (Police E-Mail Notification System) Dispatch:
Take time and be patient
Although the summer season is far from over, summer vacation for most metro Atlanta area students is coming to an end. And as we all know, the school year comes with a substantial increase in morning traffic.
Please allow an extra 10 or 15 minutes for their morning commute. The extra time will not only reduce stress but help keep our roads safer. Drivers are less likely to speed or engage in other dangerous driving habits when they aren’t running late.
School bus stop-arm enforcement beefed up
One of the most dangerous traffic law violations a driver can commit is to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload children.
In an effort to reduce this type of behavior, the Cobb County Police Department and the Cobb County Board of Education have partnered to expand the program that equips school buses with high resolution video cameras designed to capture drivers who violate the law.
Violators caught on video will receive a $300 fine in the mail. If a police officer personally witnesses the violation, the criminal penalty is $600 for the first offense and 6 points on your license.
When a school bus is stopped to load or unload children, drivers traveling in both directions are required to stop. The only exception to this law is for drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus on a divided highway with four or more lanes separated by a median.
Please click on this link provided by Operation Stop Arm to view diagrams depicting when you are required by law to stop.
Failing to stop for a school bus that is loading and unloading children can have tragic consequences for both the child and the driver. While some drivers deliberately violate the law, others are not paying attention or unsure when to stop.
Drivers are often running late, talking on the cell phone or otherwise distracted or driving while drowsy. Please review the law and take a moment to examine personal driving habits that could potentially lead to disaster.
Student pedestrian safety
With school starting back there will be an increase in school age children walking to and from the bus stop. Please pay attention to your speed and watch out for them. Reinforce the following safety tips with your kids:
- Stay alert to surroundings at all times.
- Don’t talk on the phone or text while walking.
- Walk on the sidewalk wherever possible. Lacking a sidewalk, children should walk on the edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- If the child has to cross the street it should only be done at a designated crosswalk. If a crosswalk is not available then cross at a stop sign.
- Avoid sitting on the edge of the road while waiting on the bus. This greatly decreases a child’s visibility.
- Don’t engage in horseplay while waiting on the bus.
- If a child is approached by a stranger, the child should flag down another passing motorist or run to a neighbor’s house for assistance. Children should report the incident to 911 first before calling parents.