Tag Archives: school bus

[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)

School Traffic Drives Residents Crazy

This was the scene Tuesday on Post Road West, at 3:30 p.m. Cars lined up from Burr Street to the light by Kings Highway North. It looked like Cape Cod on a summer Friday. Or Woodstock in 1969.

(Photo/Dick Lowenstein)

Dick Lowenstein thought it was remarkable enough to send to “06880.”

But anyone who passes by Kings Highway Elementary at the end of school — or any other one in Westport — knows it’s a daily occurrence.

Bus ridership is down. Personal transportation is way, way up.

“Is it because of parents’ fear of COVID?” Dick asks. “Or are there not enough bus drivers?”

It’s a great question.

So, “06880” readers: Have at it.

Do you drive your kids to school? If so, why? If not, why not?

What are the upsides — and downsides — to all these one-kid-per-car trips? Are there alternatives?

How long will it last? Any solutions? What can schools — and parents, and everyone else — do to ease the crunch?

Click “Comments” below. And please: Be objective and constructive!

Bedford Middle School traffic. (Photo/Adam Vengrow)

Pic Of The Day #1502

End of a school day, at Kings Highway Elementary (Photo/Nicola Sharian)

Friday Flashback #214

Yellow school buses seem to have been around forever. Wherever we grew up, nearly every Westporter rode in one.

Yellow buses are still ubiquitous — though these days, they’re mostly empty. More parents than ever drive their kids to school — the ones who are not still home distance learning, that is.

For many years, 2 families ran Westport’s school buses: the Cuseos and Masiellos.

Here’s a photo — courtesy of John Cuseo — of an early local bus:

What do you remember about your school bus (or driver)? Click “Comments” below, to share.

As Schools Starts, Cops Urge Caution

As COVID continues — and the new school year begins — the Westport Police Department urges all drivers and pedestrians to exercise extra care.

As an added “incentive,” officers will be extra-vigilant for violators. 

The department urges families to discuss these rules together:

As COVID-19 has significantly altered our schools’ scheduling with staggered student arrival and dismissal times, motorists will for the first time share the roads throughout the day with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who are walking or biking to school.

This year more than ever, we strongly urge commuters to allow extra time to prepare for traffic delays. Please remain vigilant and alert around school zones, bus stops and school buses. Obey the school bus laws of Connecticut, which include slowing down and preparing to stop for yellow flashing school bus lights and stopping for red flashing school bus lights.

Drivers

In neighborhoods with school zones or when backing into a roadway, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.

Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

Learn the “flashing signal light system” used by school bus drivers to alert motorists of pending actions:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists on both sides of the roadway must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Children

Get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street.

Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.

If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 5 giant steps ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps do not get caught in the handrails or doors.

Never walk behind the bus.

Walk at least 3  giant steps away from the side of the bus.

If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Follow instructions given by school crossing guards. Do not cross until they have stopped traffic completely and have advised it is safe to cross.

This Morning’s Hit-And-Run

A Bedford Middle School parent forwarded this email, sent today by principal Adam Rosen:

This morning, BMS bus #21 (morning run) was involved in a minor fender bender; the bus was rear-ended by a hit and run driver. This occurred at the intersection of Cross Highway and Weston Road.

Westport Police, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Palmer and Director of Transportation Mrs. Evangelista arrived on the scene to assess the situation. While no injuries were reported at the scene of the fender bender, out of an abundance of caution, upon arrival to BMS at 8:20 AM, all students were individually assessed by our health team and counseling team for physical and/or emotional injuries.

At this time, I can share with you that there were no injuries to our students. We are using all of our tender loving care at Bedford to take excellent care of your children.

The parent was pleased to receive the prompt email. But, he wonders — and so do I — what kind of driver has a hit-and-run with a SCHOOL BUS?!

School bus 1