With 14 school districts in the Valley starting school, it’s time to remind drivers that buses are a traveling stop sign.
Glenn Sykes of the transportation department for the Alamosa School District said annual education of drivers of the laws is essential. The rules bus drivers have to abide by are specific.
The flashing amber lights are turned on 200 feet before the bus stops to warn other drivers there is about to be a school bus stop. After the Stop Sign comes out and red lights are flashing, that means all traffic has to stop, no matter what direction they are proceeding. The stop sign will not be shut off until the students are safe.
Once the lights are off, Sykes added that bus drivers generally wait for three seconds before proceeding. This way, it gives drivers behind them to indicate to the bus driver they wish to pass the bus safely. He also warned that when several drivers stack up behind school buses without passing, that too can be a safety hazard.
Nationwide, there are approximately 94,000 violations of school bus stop signs per day, Sykes said. That is up 20,000 in one year. In the San Luis Valley, he said most of the drivers are good about obeying the mobile stop signs on buses. The biggest problem is the visitors or those not paying attention to their driving that violate the stop signs.
In Alamosa, the biggest problem is the increased number of residents in the Craft Drive area. There are now 80 students that are picked up by Alamosa school buses, an increase of 65 over three years.