This Tuesday, I picked my kids up from school for the first time in almost 6 months. And while I was driving from one school to the next to get my children, I couldn't help but notice just how many people seem to have forgotten some of the rules about sharing the roads with school buses. No joke, I saw 3 separate instances, in what was about a 5 mile drive, in which motorists passed a stopped school bus that had it's sign out and lights flashing.

Apparently, our own Bangor Police Department saw this one coming a mile away, and are reminding drivers to take caution when traveling around school buses. In a press release sent out this week, they asked that folks stay focused while they drive, especially in school zones and where they see buses have stopped. And they made sure to point out that passing a school bus, while it has its lights are flashing, is a class E (misdemeanor) crime.

"This applies to buses that have pulled over (even in a parking lot) to board or de-board passengers. Some school buses have video cameras to capture violations. Violations (in Bangor) are reported to Bangor PD. "

This was one of the instances that I witnessed this week. We were all parked in front of the school, waiting behind the buses for our students to come out of the school. The car in front of me had their student get in the backseat. Once they were loaded in, this car pulled around the bus (who still had it's lights flashing and the stop sign out on the side) and drove off, narrowly missing a student who was trying to cross the path in front of us. I was stunned.

Now, I hope this was just a case of this person forgetting, and needing a reminder. So here is your reminder of the law:

"The operator of a vehicle on a way, in a parking area or on school property, on meeting or overtaking a school bus from either direction when the bus has stopped with its red lights flashing to receive or discharge passengers, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus. The operator may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the school bus operator to proceed. "

The Bangor PD also reminds folks to be patient, and allow for extra time when traveling during peak school bus transport time, be it in the morning, or at pick up time.

I know it's been a while, but let's be safe out there, and pay attention to all the new traffic, both foot and bus, that now share the roads with us.