Parents voice concerns over school bus safety

September 09, 1997


Staff Writer

The Youngstoun apartment complex off Robinwood Drive is a quiet, out-of-the-way community, but the peace is sometimes broken by the seemingly simple job of picking up school kids.

Parents Kimberly Raios and Karen Patrick say at least once a week a motorist buzzes by a stopped school bus at Youngstoun Court and Youngstoun Drive while their children are boarding.

The bus driver lays on the horn and Raios screams, but the motorist keeps going, Raios said.

Raios and Patrick said they have called the Washington County Sheriff's Department numerous times about the problem, but it persists.

"A child's going to get hit. That's what it's going to take," Patrick said.

Officials said they have received no complaints about reckless drivers in Youngstoun apartments, located across from Hagerstown Junior College, but disregard for school bus safety is a common problem throughout the county.


"It's becoming more every year because of the volume of traffic," said Audrey Baker transportation specialist for the Washington County schools.

Baker said one of the worst places for motorists driving around buses is National Pike between Huyetts Crossroads and Clear Spring. There are many stops along the road and motorists become impatient and drive around buses while red lights are blinking, Baker said.

If it is a frequent problem, drivers are supposed to get the tag numbers of cars driving around buses, Baker said. Also, the transportation department will call police and request patrols at boarding areas where reckless driving is a problem, Baker said.

Police also suggest parents get tag numbers of motorists, and make sure they can identify the driver.

Raios said that is difficult when the motorist is driving away.

Sheriff's Department Cpl. Daryl Sanders said he did not know of any complaints near Youngstoun apartments, but that his department would try to increase patrols there.

"Naturally, we will try to do something with it," said Sanders.

It is illegal to pass a school bus while its red lights are flashing, or while a stop sign on the drivers side is extended, Sanders said. Violation of the law can result in a $270 fine and two points assessed against a motorist's driving record, Sanders said.

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