Police quest yields praise for drivers Troopers find most stop for school buses

September 13, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

"And the fine is $260 and two points."

This is what state troopers thought they might be saying to Carroll County motorists as the troopers rode school buses last week as part of "Project Good Guy."

But the troopers found themselves praising local drivers, who stopped for the buses' flashing red lights as the drivers approached or followed the vehicles taking children to and from classes.

The troopers caught only one violator in three days.

During the operation, two teams of two troopers rode and followed school buses all over the county to watch for errant drivers as school started after the summer break.

On each trip, one trooper rode a school bus, carried a two-way radio and watched for motorists to pass the bus -- in violation of state law -- as it stopped to pick up or discharge the youngsters.

The other trooper followed the bus a short distance behind. If a motorist was seen passing a stopped bus, the trooper on the bus was to radio to his colleague, who would stop the violator and issue a citation.

On Wednesday, the first day of the trooper ride-along, only one motorist was cited for violating the school bus law.

Thursday's and Friday's rides produced no violators, said Lt. Roy Neigh, commander of the Westminster barracks.

On one of the trips Thursday, Tfc. Robert Serio rode on a bus driven by Jim Wiles of Union Bridge as Mr. Wiles picked up students from Westminster High, West Middle School and Friendship Valley Elementary.

"In the seven years that I have been driving a school bus in Carroll County, only a few cars have passed, and most of them stopped about halfway down the side of the bus," Mr. Wiles said. "So you know they didn't see the flashing lights until the last second."

Lieutenant Neigh commended Carroll's motorists for paying attention to the buses.

Maryland law requires motorists to stop on meeting or overtaking a school bus that is stopping or has stopped on a roadway and is operating its flashing warning lights.

The driver must stop at least 20 feet from the front or rear of the school bus.

The only exceptions are in Baltimore or in an incorporated city or town with a population of more than 100,000 people, or on a divided highway if the school vehicle is on a different roadway, such as a frontage road.

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