Every morning thousands of parents here in New York and across the country drop their children off at the local school bus stop, trusting that the bus driver will transport their precious cargo to school safely. While this is exactly what happens the overwhelming majority of the time, there are unfortunate exceptions.
For example, consider a recent news report examining the driving habits of school bus drivers in the Baltimore area. Here, investigators discovered that hundreds of traffic violations have been issued to school bus drivers for offenses ranging from speeding to running a red light.
Investigators found that in a sample size of 99 traffic camera citations issued to school bus drivers in Baltimore City and Baltimore County over the last two years, 19 were for running a red light while 80 were for speeding. In fact, 37 of these 80 speeding tickets involved bus drivers speeding in designated school zones, defined as a radius of half a mile from a school.
As if this wasn't disturbing enough, investigators also discovered that many of these citations were issued to repeat offenders, including one bus driver who received five separate citations in the span of only three months.
While you would naturally wonder why Baltimore City or Baltimore County hasn't done more to crack down on this problem, consider that the three companies with whom the city/county has a contract to transport students are not obligated to inform school districts about any violations that their drivers receive.
Nevertheless, officials with the Baltimore County Public School system are adamant that school bus drivers are subject a rigid disciplinary system in which they are issued letters of reprimand and subject to possible dismissal for repeat offenses.
They also stress that the five-year contracts with the three bus vendors -- all of whom are described as "longstanding, reputable companies" -- are almost up. This means that when the new contracts are drafted, they can take into account such factors as speed/red light cameras (which weren't in use at the time the previous contract was executed) and demand that the vendors report all citations received by its drivers.
In the meantime, these officials also point out that ticketed bus drivers are now acutely aware of the presence of traffic cameras on their route and that should help curb potentially dangerous driving habits.
Here's hoping they're right ...
If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
Stay tuned for updates our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
ABC News, "Baltimore area bus drivers cited for over 800 dangerous traffic violations," Kevin Dolak, Oct. 25, 2012