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Friday, May 16, 2008

School Buses and Motorists

*****UPDATE: City Councilor Clancy contacted me and forwarded my concerns to the Chief of Police in Worcester. The Mayors office contacted me and forwarded my concerns to the City Manager. The Worcester Police Department contacted me and I talked at length with the Lieutenant in charge of traffic and he will be taking action over a prolonged period of time to make this school bus stop a safer place for all of the kids.

My personal thanks to everyone involved and I thank you all for your emails and phone calls.

I’ve been blessed with five very beautiful daughters and I hope and pray to see each and every one of them grow up to be a strong woman. Some people would call me an over protective Dad because I walk my five, seven and ten year old to the bus stop every morning before I embark on my days adventures. Walking away from the bus stop I know that my girls are safe but if I were not there to witness the traffic blowing the flashing red lights of the girls school bus almost daily I could not write this piece.

Worcester is a fairly large city in New England and the traffic patterns at most intersections offer multiple lanes on both sides of the road. Our section of the road where my kids are picked up on is no different other than a double solid yellow line down the middle of the street. Today scared this dad to death only after I heard what happened.

My twelve year old was late for the bus today and rushed out of the house without most of her school supplies and the raisin toast she just popped out of the toaster. Leaving her books, jacket and homework she boogied out the door with a rush to meet her bus in the hopes that she would not miss it. When a twelve year old has one thought in mind then all other objects in the world are blinded to them when they have to get to where they have to be.

While I was getting her younger sisters from ten to five ready for school I heard the blaring of the school bus horn just down the street. Three houses away my child stopped at the curb to cross a main avenue into the city at the last minute as yet another driver blew through the flashing red lights of her school bus. Had she not stopped she would have been killed by somebody busy on their cell phone or sipping a coffee or paying any kind of attention other than what was going on in front of them. All school kids that have to pass a major road should be taught even as a kindergartener right up to senior year that they need to wait for the school bus drivers instruction when it is safe to cross. Thank God that the blaring horn from the bus stopped my child in her tracks. Something she learned from repeated incidents at the same stop to wait for her bus drivers cue when it was safe to cross this busy intersection. How important could anything be if your car slams into a twelve year old crossing the street for their bus? Could you live with yourself if you did just that? Could you look into the face of a parent of that child and truly be sorry simply because you were texting someone when it happened?

Is our rush to be in control or get where we have to be so ignorant that we would blindly get there at the sake of a child crossing the street to get on a school bus. Is any phone call worth the life of a child running for the bus with red flashing lights? Is anything that important to kill a child because all of the distractions of operating a two or three ton vehicle involve more than watching the road and what is going on during the operation of that vehicle?

As a parent I have contacted my Mayor first, my City Councilor second and the local police third. When it comes to the safety and life of my child I will choose going over everyone’s head each and every single time. At the time that this post was written, my local City Councilor replied and forwarded my email to the Police Chief.

I’ll be watching our local school bus stop for any activity and local enforcement. I’ll also be begging my friend’s in the local area like WormTown Taxi and I’m from Worcester to pick up this post. If this kind of ignorance on traffic rules are happening in my neck of the woods in the third largest city in New England then I’m pretty sure it is happening everywhere.

Who wants a double latte mocha-chino espresso for the road with a by pass school bus flashing reds to go? All jokes aside, this is no joking matter. My children are my world as much as I’m sure that yours are. If you see this happening in your world then speak up and be heard. Be the very angry squeaky wheel and let the oil flow from the folks with the oil can in hand.

If you are reading this post then please email it and pass it on to a friend or family member to protect your kids in your city! One near miss is to many.


*****Daily Worcesteria has linked back to this post... Thank you!
*****The Beacon News has picked up this post... Thank you!
*****The Courier News has picked up this post... Thank you!

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Anonymous Infidel753 said...

This is astonishing. We have those same buses here in Portland and in twelve years I've never seen a car pass one that had its lights flashing and its stop sign out. Not once.

1:01 PM  
Blogger cascadingwaters said...

It does happen a surprising amount, though I'll say that it doesn't happen that often at my daughter's bus stop (amazingly, as it's on a blind curve). It seems to me that this ties into the push that Councilor Haller's been making on pedestrian safety. There are drivers who don't understand that they share the streets.

Any idea if this is going to be addressed at City Council this week? Sounds like something that belongs "under suspension."

2:16 PM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

I've updated the progress on my post and thankfully I'm glad that they all see the concern that I have for not just my kids but all of the kids in this neighborhood.

Just for giggles I went down to meet my twelve year olds bus and it turns out that there are more than seven buses with stops on this intersection in a fifteen minute time period. While I was there waiting for my twelve year old two cars ran the flashing reds of the school bus. One of them blew a red light to blow through the flashing reds to get into the parking lot of the liquor store on the same corner. Then he was pissed off enough to be acosted by the horn of the driver and the screaming of the school bus driver that he wanted to argue more with him. I turned his plate number over to the Worcester Police.

We shall see how this whole situation works out. One child killed by anyone to busy to pay attention is way to many when you are operating a two ton death sentence machine for a 50 to 100 pound child in your path.

CW, I don't know if this is City Council material. I'm thinking it is more of a Police and traffic enforcement issue.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If two cars violated the red lights in 15 minutes on the first day that youwere down there, it sounds like it might be worthwhile to get out the video camera and do a little amatuer film-making.

If you're digitally equipped, you could probably get a passable clip of people running the reds, and put it on a CD or DVD for the Worcester PD. You would hope that they would do something about it, after you did part of the work for them. Unfortunately, you almost never hear back about specific incidents.

What part of the city do you live in? I'm down near Lake View school, and the Officer that comes to our neighborhood watch (part of the Community Impact Division, I think) is very responsive to concerns that we have. Get on a first name basis with the officer assigned to your area, and I'd bet you'll have a receptive ear/eye for any films you make, and he'd probably keep you informed on progress as well.


6:30 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

Thanks for the tips Joe. Worcester Police are on it and I'm pretty confident that this intersection will be safer for it.

11:42 AM  

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