By Sen. Kent Williams
With the start of a new school year approaching, I want to encourage each and every one of you that will be driving on our roadways to pay attention to school buses that carry our precious cargo. Even though we passed legislation in 2014 in an effort to deter folks from passing stopped school buses far too many instances of school bus stop-arm violations are continuing to happen in our state.
Folks, just one instance of a car passing a stopped school bus is one instance to many. These continued violations are putting far too many of our children in danger. The stop-arm is there to keep drivers from passing by a stopped bus so that our children can safely get on and off the bus.
Please remember that yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. When you are driving and see these yellow flashing lights you should slow down and prepare to stop your vehicles. Red flashing lights and extended stop-arm indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off.
If you are driving on any highway that has only two-travel lanes, one in each direction, you must stop for the bus whether approaching from the front or overtaking from the rear. In these instances you must remain stopped until the lights are no longer activated or the bus resumes motion.
If you are driving on multi-lane roadways, which have at least two lanes of travel in each direction, you must stop for the bus if overtaking the bus from the rear and remain stopped until the lights are no longer activated or the bus resumes motion.
However if you are approaching a bus from the front, on this type of multi-lane roadway you do not need to stop for the school bus. You can proceed with caution.
If you are on our roads and see a bus, please pay attention to its flashing lights and if the stop-arm is extended. It is important for all drivers to be alert because students, especially younger children, may not be paying attention as they are getting off the bus. Do not put our children in any unnecessary danger.
As with all matters concerning state government, I want to hear your opinions and suggestions concerning these issues. Please contact me in my Columbia office located at 608 Gressette Office Building. You can reach me, or a member of my staff in Columbia at (803) 212-6000 or by fax at (803) 212-6011. My district office is located at 2523 East Highway 76, Marion, SC 29571, the phone number is (843) 423-8237 and the fax number is (843) 431-6049. You may also email me at kentwilliams@ scsenate.gov. My business phone is (843) 423-3904. Please use this information to write, call or email me with your suggestions and concerns regarding issues before the Senate and in our community.
By Sen. Kent Williams