GROVELAND — To ensure children are able to safely enter and exit their school buses, and that drivers are aware of the rules of the road, the Groveland Police Department is shadowing school buses along their routes.
Beginning the week of Nov. 19, after receiving complaints of cars passing buses while stopped with their flashing red lights on, officers began accompanying buses in the mornings and afternoons in marked and unmarked cruisers.
Drivers who fail to stop for a school bus with its red lights activated are subject to a $250 fine, and motorists with two or more offenses can have their licenses revoked.
Since implementing this safety campaign, two drivers have been stopped and were issued warnings.
“We want drivers to be aware that officers will be monitoring bus routes to ensure all laws are followed and children are safe,” Chief Jeffrey Gillen said. “By addressing this proactively, we hope to prevent accidents and injuries.”
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), approximately 400,000 students in the state are transported to school by bus every year.
School buses are a relatively safe form of transportation. DPH reports that the majority of related injuries occur to pedestrians who are boarding or exiting a bus and are hit by passing traffic or while in one of the bus driver’s blind spots. Children ages 4 to 7 are at the highest risk of injury.
Residents should remember that:
- State law requires drivers to stay at least 100 feet behind a school bus at all times.
- Motorists also must stop for school buses and school vans when red lights are flashing. Be on the lookout for flashing yellow and red lights, and be ready to stop.
- Never pass a school bus when its stop sign arm is down and red lights are flashing.
- Do not begin driving again until the flashing red lights are turned off, the stop sign is put back in place and the bus begins moving.