08/16/2019- Another school year is about to begin and that means the daily commute may get a little more crowded. It’s the time of year when officials are reminding drivers about the rules and regulations of sharing the road with school buses. Tom Westlund, President of Westlund Bus Lines, says while the majority of the issues tend to occur at the start of the school year, it’s something his bus drivers unfortunately have to deal with all year long.
“You need to be watching out for the youngsters getting on or off the bus. And another thing is that there’s more kids that are walking to school, too, and the school zones are generally 15 miles an hour. As the bus is picking up kids- when the bus is stopped and the bus has its red lights on- traffic has to be stopped 20 feet away from the bus.”
If a bus driver sees a vehicle failing to stop for a bus or passing inappropriately, that motorist can be subject to some pretty hefty fines. Westlund says they work closely with local law enforcement to make sure kids can get to and from school safely.
“We are very, very fortunate that in Marinette and Marinette County they take and jump on this right away. The tickets start out at $287…and, of course, it’s 3 or 4 points off of the license, too.”
According to the American School Bus Council, more than 10-million drivers illegally pass school buses every year and as many as two-thirds of school bus loading and unloading fatalities are caused by passing vehicles.