Keep school bus safety laws in mind

Several years ago, the Post-Record ran a letter to the editor from a Washougal resident who recounted a traumatic childhood experience involving a serious collision between a child and a vehicle. The driver behind the wheel did not obey laws aimed at protecting youngsters as they board and disembark from the school bus.

Each and every year since then, thoughts of that man’s story and his desire to prevent the same fate from happening to any other child come to the surface.

School started last week in Camas and Washougal, and with it the realization that drivers must once again become extra vigilant regarding student safety.

According to Washington State law, when a school bus has stopped and has engaged its signal in an effort to pick up or drop off students, other drivers must stop. They cannot proceed until the school bus has begun to move and deactivated its signals.

The law has a few nuances — exceptions when it comes to a divided highway or a three-lane highway, but in truth it’s a relatively simple regulation. This makes it all the more surprising that many people either don’t understand it or just decide not to follow it. As children can often be unpredictable, either one of these excuses has the potential to have dire and even deadly consequences.

Our local youth are back in school. For the kids’ safety, drivers need to make sure they are aware of the laws they must abide by when it comes to those big yellow buses. For more information, visit http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.370.