Classes are back in session in Johnson City and Washington County. That means motorists should exercise caution when driving near school crossing zones and bus stops.
And remember state law requires all drivers to come to a complete stop for a stopped school bus and remain stopped until the bus retracts its stop arm and continues on its route. Failure to obey is a Class C misdemeanor.
Drivers need to be particularly careful in neighborhoods where kids are walking to and from school. Motorists should familiarize themselves with where school zones and bus stops are located and then make sure they slow down and come to a complete stop at all intersections they encounter while passing through those areas.
Always heed the direction of school crossing guards. They are there to direct both motorists and students safely through school zones.
It’s also important to remember that driving a school bus is more than shifting gears and opening a door at the stops. Drivers are responsible for the safety of every passenger on that bus. Unfortunately, some school districts are having problems finding individuals who want to take on that responsibility.
Low pay and poor benefits may be part of the problem. If that is indeed the case, it’s time for school officials, parents and taxpayers to decide what price they are willing to place on the safety of schoolchildren.
As we’ve said in this space many times before, school bus drivers carry precious cargo. Parents, school administrators and taxpayers should insist that the most qualified drivers are hired to see that schoolchildren arrive safely to their destinations.