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North Iowa drivers cautioned about passing a stopped school bus

MASON CITY, Iowa – May 17, 2012 – The Iowa Department of Transportation, at the request of the West Fork School District, is alerting motorists to pay close attention when approaching a stopped school bus.

Recently, three instances of northbound vehicles passing a stopped school bus on U.S. 65 south of Rockwell have caused concern within the school district. The speed limit on this two-lane roadway is 55 mph at this location.

The law regarding vehicles stopping for school buses can be found in Iowa Code 321.372. According to Iowa law, drivers on two-lane roadways, when meeting a school bus with flashing amber warning lamps, shall reduce the vehicle’s speed to no more than 20 mph, and shall bring the vehicle to a complete stop when the school bus stops and the stop signal arm is extended. The vehicle shall remain stopped until the stop signal arm is retracted, after which time the driver may proceed with caution.

The driver of a vehicle traveling behind a school bus shall not pass the bus when its red or amber warning signal lights are flashing. The driver shall bring the vehicle to a complete stop no closer than 15 feet from the school bus when the bus is stopped and its stop arm is extended. The vehicle shall remain stopped until the stop arm is retracted and the school bus resumes motion. Drivers should never pass on the right shoulder.

Report any observed violations of the school bus passing law to local law enforcement.

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Are you kidding? You want to know if school bus drivers know when they can make a stop? Be more aware of your surroundings. Why are you even that close to a school bus in the first place? School bus drivers have the responsibility of making sure our little ones get to and from school safely. If you are on a rural bus route, buses don’t even go that fast from each stop. Why didn’t you just pass the bus if you were in a hurry?

I have had 3 school bus drivers turn on the yellow lights & then put out the stop sign arm when I was less than 100 feet from the bus, so it’s NOT always the driver of the oncoming cars that are at fault. I was given a written warning even AFTER the bus driver admitted to the cop that I was too close & he should have waited until I was past the bus. NIT, can you find out if the bus drivers are trained on what a “safe” distance for oncoming traffic is ???

Install cameras that are activated when the stop arm comes out. Anyone that passes a bus then loses their license for 6 months. That should be effective.

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