BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new report from the state reveals drivers are illegally passing school buses at an alarming rate.
In fact, the number of drivers who violated the school bus law requiring drivers to stop near buses with their “arms” extended and lights flashing, nearly doubled since last year.
The latest figure — 4,326 violations in a single-day survey of about 75 percent of all Maryland school bus drivers — eclipses last year’s 2,800 reported violations.
Parent Sade Whitlock calls it “mind blowing.”
“It’s kids, it should be thought twice about, you just stop,” says another parent, Betsy Petrelli.
So why is it happening so often?
“We believe it’s because they are impatient,” says Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education. “We want drivers to take the time and make sure they are not passing any buses and keeping our kids safe.”
Now that schools are back in session, officials are hoping that message hits home.
“Kids are in the area, kids are being picked up and dropped off by the school buses, please pay attention,” Reinhard says.
“Think about my child, think about your child, trying to rush past a school bus,” Whitlock says. “Save a life, please.”
Not to mention, drivers who illegally pass a school bus could face a fine of up to $570 and a three-point penalty on their license. Drivers who pass a bus and contribute to an accident could face additional penalties.