As Marshalltown commuters rush to get where they are going, it seems many are oblivious to the fact they could be breaking the law by not braking their vehicle around a stopped school bus.
Marshalltown Community School District Transportation Director Don Meyer is disturbed at the amount of violations motorists commit by going around stopped school buses with the stop arm out.
"The stop arm violations are a pretty big issue," Meyer said. "We had eight violations in one day in the spring."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Stop arm violations continue to be a problem in Marshalltown, according to the district’s transportation director. One day last spring there were eight violations in town.
With school back in session this week, Meyer wants the public to know when the school bus stops to pick up or drop off children and the stop sign is out it means they must halt their vehicle no matter which direction they are headed.
"Some people think all they have to do is stop like a stop sign then go," Meyer said. "They can't do that. They have to wait until the stop sign is retracted."
Those driving behind a bus must stop when the yellow lights go off, which usually happens prior to the stop arm coming out. No students have been hit by these violators in the six years Meyer has been with the school district, but he did say there have been a few close calls.
"It's such a danger if people go around stopped school buses," Meyer said. "Kids could step out in front and the drivers need to be aware."
He said two of the main problem locations in town appear to be in the Miller Middle School and Woodbury Elementary School areas.
"I think there is probably more traffic there and people are not being patient," Meyer said.
Many of the violators are not caught as the bus driver has to be able to take down a description of the car and its license plate number.
"It's difficult to get all these things," Meyer said.
If violators are caught they could be subject to up to $300 in fines and court costs.