With at least one motorist a week passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading students, Carroll school officials plan to begin a new reporting procedure to better pinpoint violators.
The new forms, on order but not yet on the district's contracted fleet of buses, will require a bus driver to fill out a description of the violator and the vehicle, license tag number and the location of the infraction.Copies will be kept on file and will be given to Maryland State Police.
First Lt. Ken Tregoning of the Maryland State Police noted that action has been taken against a motorist who last week passed a special education bus stopped at Old Taneytown Road and Tyrone Road.
School officials said violations have occurred throughout the county.
Underscoring officials' concerns was the death last week of a 6-year-old Frederick County boy. The boy was killed and his mother and stepsister were seriously injured when the driver of a pickup truck failed to stop for a bus and swerved into a bus stop.
"It's the type ofproblem we hope and pray we don't experience in Carroll County," said William H. Hyde, assistant superintendent of administration.
Because bus drivers have traditionally reported violators to the state police, school officials said they have not been able to track the number of violations.
Tregoning said eight motorists received fines in excess of $100 in the past year. Motorists passing a school bus that has activated its red flashing lights face up to $500 in fines.
The Carroll school system transports about 20,000 students daily, which amounts to 954 trips a day, or 11,676 stops, officials said.
School officials reminded motorists to stop whenever a bus activates red flashing lights. The only exception is for buses on a divided highway, such as Route 140 outside of Westminster.
They also asked motorists to be patient with school buses transporting special educationstudents. These buses generally have more stops to make and take longer to load and unload disabled students.