AAA Tidewater experts say school bus accidents in Hampton Roads are commonly caused by drivers not paying attention.
“What happens is sometimes people are not paying attention they may be distracted or looking down and they bump into the back of a school bus,” explains Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Relations for AAA Tidewater.
Blumbling also says some drivers may not be aware of state law.
According to Virginia Law, drivers must stop when approaching a stopped school bus in any direction until everyone is clear and the bus starts moving again.
“The only time that, that isn’t in effect is if there is a hard divider between you and the buses on a divided roadway,” says Blumling.
Drivers NewsChannel 3 talked to admit they don’t know the formal law, but say, they stop anyway.
“I just go by what I was taught in driver’s which is, if you see the stop sign, don’t pass,” says Michelle Davenport.
“I mean, that’s just a given. You stop regardless if the sign is out on the bus or not, stop,” says Gerry Partain.
Blumling also reminds drivers “yellow” flashing lights on a school bus mean that a bus is preparing to stop.
In this case, she says, drivers should begin slowing and prepare to stop their vehicle.
Illegally passing a school bus is classified as reckless driving, says Blumling, and subject to a $500 fine.