School’s Open. Be Careful Out There!

It took exactly one day from the opening of school for the first drivers to race by, totally ignoring a stopped bus and causing an accident.

A Greens Farms Elementary school bus pulled up to the Regents Park curb around 3:40 p.m. this afternoon. The stop sign was extended, yet cars in the opposite (westbound) direction roared past.

The driver honked. One car hit its brakes. But the 2 cars behind were going so fast, they could not stop. The result: a 3-car rear-end collision that sent one person to the hospital.

Police and fire trucks responded quickly. Still, it was quite an experience for at least one kindergartner, whose parents described the scene.

Two of the vehicles in this afternoon's Post Road East crash.

Two of the vehicles in this afternoon’s Post Road East crash.

There are 2 issues here. One is the law: When a school bus is stopped, all drivers must stop too. That’s a no-brainer. The safety of our kids trumps your need to get wherever you are late going.

The second issue is that this section of the Post Road — Regents Park, Balducci’s, and nearby areas — has become increasingly hazardous. Condo residents believe it’s just a matter of time before a tragedy occurs.

There are no stop signs, lights or crosswalks. But there are 2 active driveways and parking lots on opposite sides of the highly trafficked 4-lane street, with cars often exceeding 40 miles an hour.

Interestingly, a police car was parked this morning in the Zaniac parking lot, monitoring this situation during the school bus pickup.

Residents of Regents Park (right) worry constantly about this dangerous stretch of the Post Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Residents of Regents Park (right) worry constantly about this dangerous stretch of the Post Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Traffic will not get better. Last night, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans for a 4-story, 94-unit rental property not far away: on Post Road East, opposite Crate & Barrel.

On the other hand, the proposal includes affordable housing units that will help the town earn a 4-year moratorium on complying with the state’s 8-30g statute.

5 responses to “School’s Open. Be Careful Out There!

  1. Something related to this incident happened to me the other day, thankfully not including school children. When police and ambulances were rushing past me on north compo last week, I pulled over to the side of the road to make sure they were able to get where they were going. The car behind me kept honking and raising her hands in question of why I would stop and do such a thing. It’s a amazing to me how some drivers don’t respect emergency vehicles getting to emergency situations.

  2. Beth Berkowitz

    Amy, as a former EMT and ambulance driver, I can say that happens way more than most people realize. People don’t realize because they are listening to music loudly and don’t hear it notice the lights and sirens sometimes and some people cannot tell where the emergency vehicles are coming from until they are right on top of them and some people just get nervous and confused and don’t know they need to pull over to the right (most of the time pulling over to the right is the best way to help emergency vehicles pass and get where they are going safely) however, sometimes it is better to just stop moving and let the emergency vehicles maneuver around the stopped cars depending on where it is safe for you to pull over.

    As far as the school bus incident, people don’t pay attention (distracted drivers/or ignorant of the laws) to school buses or the large stop signs that swing out and they go past the school buses that have their flashing lights on even before the stop sign swings out. Many school buses now have cameras that can record a vehicle passing them when they are stopped to discharge or pick up students and those drivers can be sent a ticket after the fact if they happen to get by without causing an accident or injuries to others. Some people just think if the bus is on the opposite side of a road they can still go past it and only need to stop if they are going in the same direction as the bus. This is NOT correct. You MUST STOP for stopped school buses until they pull the stop sign back in and start moving. You still can’t pass a school bus if there is only one lane in each direction and you are going along behind the bus in the same direction. Be careful people! Be safe as you wouldn’t want it to be someone you care about that is hurt because you tried to pass a school bus or didn’t pull over properly for an emergency vehicle that was going to help someone you care about and you delayed the emergency responders from arriving safely and quickly.

  3. I’m very confused about the last paragraph. Where are people w/ disabilities (those who cannot work or work enough hours – those who have disability/ies from birth hence receive only one quarter of the average Social Security) meant to live? If not in affordable housing? Which apparently some people always want to be ‘somewhere else’… when there is no ‘somewhere else’.

  4. It’s obvious that some folks may be unaware of the basic laws and rules of the road. (i’m being nice here.) Just as many licensed professions require mandatory continuing education classes during license renewal periods, should drivers have similar requisites? Some insurance companies offer premium discounts after completion of “defensive driver courses.” Perhaps along with a ticket for their infraction, offenders are required to complete drivers ed!