[OPINION] Stop When You See The Flashing Lights!

Alert — and concerned — “06880” reader Liz Blasko writes:

On Tuesday morning I was standing on the corner waiting for the school bus with my granddaughter, 4 other children and 3 other adults.

We watched the bus approach down the hill on the right as it does every morning, flashing its red lights before it stopped.

Suddenly a car came around the corner from the other direction. making no attempt to stop. The children moved toward the bus, but the car still kept coming.

I ran to it and screamed, ‘You have to stop!” Seeing me, the driver finally stopped. Her window was right next to the bus driver’s window.

The driver did not apologize. Instead she blamed the bus driver, saying, “She didn’t have the stop sign out!” The driver further excused herself, saying, “I was just trying to get out of the way.” She was trying to get past the stopped school bus, with its flashing red lights, before the driver put the stop sign out.

I was aghast that anyone could think that way. Was she thinking about her own children, or the toddler in her back seat when she tried to speed between the stopped school bus with flashing red lights and the group of elementary school children beginning to cross the road to their bus?

I don’t think so. She was thinking about her own agenda.

As a reminder to all drivers, Connecticut law:

Requires a driver meeting or overtaking any school bus from either direction to stop 10 feet before reaching the school bus when the flashing red lights are actuated. Drivers may proceed when the bus resumes moving or the lights are turned off. (Violators are subject to a $450 fine.)

I spoke with the bus driver this morning. She was shaken by the incident. At least 2 equally frightening incidents have occurred since the one I experienced, the driver told me. A high schooler was crossing to reach the bus and was almost hit. In another instance, the police caught a driver passing a stopped school bus and hopefully imposed the $450 fine…all 3 in one day!

My granddaughter, her friends at the bus stop, your children and the children of the driver of the car who passed the bus are too precious. STOP when you see the flashing lights!

No matter who is crossing — children or deer — STOP when you see the school bus’ flashing lights. (Photo/Paul Delano)

11 responses to “[OPINION] Stop When You See The Flashing Lights!

  1. Ellen Wentworth

    People! Wait 20 secs… It
    could mean a life!
    Stop take a breath and think of others.

  2. This happens every single day at the school bus stop across from Redi-cut
    Carpet on Post Road East. Usually between one and three cars fly by the bus with its flashing lights and stop sign. Every. Single. Day.

  3. “Chronic Entitlement” is the catchphrase. I’m always baffled there aren’t more accidents. I think the driving test should be re-administered every 7 years. I’m convinced people forget the rules of the road. I’m a walker, 5mi a day, I’m waiting to get mowed down by drivers who scoff at me for walking in the street and refuse to allow the 3ft. required. A stopped school bus with flashers on is simply inexcusable.
    BTW I’ve come to wave a thank you to every driver who does their best to drive as if my life depended on it…..They’re starting to wave back! 🙂

  4. Dick Lowenstein

    In response to a call from a constituent, I contacted the Westport police department and received the following recommendation. I hope this helps.

    Dick Lowenstein
    RTM District 5


    “He or she can file a complaint by telephone at 203-341-6000 or online. They would request that school bus enforcement be done in the area. The online form can be found on the WPD website (under request for traffic enforcement) and can be used by individuals who want to report ongoing problems that are occurring in their neighborhoods, such as speeding problems or school bus violations. Officers on duty in the area will be advised of concerns so that appropriate action can be taken.”

  5. Haley Schulman

    What are the rules when a bus stops with flashing lights in the opposite direction you are going on the Post Road?

    • Werner Liepolt

      Same —STOP—unless there’s a median… Ie. Post Road from Hillspoint to Sherwood Island Connector.

  6. Flav freedman

    I see this all the time too. The buses in my area just got cameras mounted to hopefully catch the offenders.

  7. stephanie bass

    Despicable. Get the driver’s license plate, take a picture if you can, and report to local police.

    2nd fine should be doubled; 3rd tripled and license revoked for a year.

    (I’m also pushing for stockades in the public square but support is slow…)

  8. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    I went to court to report two vehicles who didn’t stop because it was the Post Rd, that was there excuse and they didn’t see the bus either. I was lucky that it was a red light and I got both licenses. It was a pain going to court but worth it!

  9. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    their excuse, sorry