Redlights and School Busses [Archive] - Glock Talk

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vafish
11-01-2004, 08:22
A friend of mine saw something interesting the other morning. I figured you guys would be the ones to ask.

This happened in Fairfax County, VA if it matters.

Anyhow here is what happend.

Friend was comuting to work in the morning. School bus stopped to let on childern. He was behind the bus and stopped for the lights/stop sign. While he was waiting an ambulance on a call came from the other direction. It stopped for the school bus, and waited until the school bus driver shut off the red lights and brought in the stop sign before proceeding.

I've seen plenty of ambulances and fire trucks go through red lights at intersections. Normally the come to a full stop or pretty near a full stop before proceeding through the light.

We just thought it was strange that the ambulance driver waited until the school bus retracted the stop sign before they proceeded.

Our thought was that the bus driver would be the one to know where the kids were and when/if it would be safe for the ambulance to proceed. But we were wondering what the regulations and proceedures were for such an encounter. Are the ambulances required to wait until the bus retracts the sign? or was the ambulance driver simply being cautious?

Jon509
11-01-2004, 09:02
Same procedure as clearing an intersection, but even more cautious because sometimes kids just run to or from the bus without looking. They probably were just making sure another kid didn't run from out of the woodwork and get hit.

IMHO a good job of being aware on the drivers part.

Jon

mfackler
11-01-2004, 09:59
Yep. I think thats the right thing to do. If I'm in the ambulance, we stop for buses. I may be mistaken be I believe it's the law here in Ohio. I don't believe ambulances have any special rights when it comes to School buses.

Alpha752
11-01-2004, 11:27
I dont know about the law (but ill check into it), but its just the right thing to do. Sure, they may have a critical patient, but what happens if they smack a kid getting off the bus?

Every vehicle should stop for a school bus, emergency or not. There is no emergency that is important enough to put our kids in danger.

hotpig
11-01-2004, 11:52
In Illinois the stop arm means stop. There is no excemption for Emergency vehicles.

vafish
11-01-2004, 14:00
Originally posted by Alpha752

Every vehicle should stop for a school bus, emergency or not. There is no emergency that is important enough to put our kids in danger.

.......Not to hijack my own thread, but,

I agree, Wish the guy I saw the other day thought the same, then again maybe he just wasn't paying attention.

A small utility trailer with a flat tire had been abandoned along side the road. A cop was sitting behind it with his blue lights on. I was coming from the other direction, A few hundred yards past the cop/trailer a school bus pulled up and stopped to pick up kids, I went past before the light and arm came out. People behind the bus stopped in the left lane, right lane was empty. A person in a Jeep Cherokee past the cop, slammed on his breaks to avoid hitting the cars in the lft lane, swerved to the right almost clipping the bus, and slid right on past the bus leaving about 50 feet of skid marks, let off his breaks and kept going. Last I saw in my rearview mirror was the cop pulling out, bus stop arm retracting and cop accelerating after the jeep.

Back to the original thread....

I was just wondering if they were legally required to wait until the stop arm was retracted, could the do a stop and go, or could they just blow through the busses stop sign.

I also have no idea if the ambulance was going to a call or had already picked up the patient. I guess if they had a patient their condition could also be an issue.

obxprnstar
11-01-2004, 16:57
As the law was explained to me here in NC, no one except the post master has the authority to pass a stopped school bus.

TerraMedicX
11-01-2004, 17:07
My last ambulance company required that all ambulances traveling code MUST shut-down in active school zones and stop for a school bus with it's arm out. Now, I don't know if this was a law, but the reasoning behind the policy is that kids are often drawn to the flashing lights and sirens which could cause them to run out into the road. Trust me, NO ONE wants to hit a kid in an ambulance while going code (My old partner did this nine months ago and he's gone through hell since).


Nate.

Slinger646
11-01-2004, 20:45
In Virginia EVOC, they reveiw some statute that says we have to stop for a school bus even if we are running lights. Im not sure what section of the code it is, but its there

Slinger646
11-01-2004, 20:47
triple tap;g sorry

Slinger646
11-01-2004, 20:47
triple tap;g

Slinger646
11-01-2004, 20:47
triple tap;g

N2DFire
11-02-2004, 09:50
Originally posted by Slinger646
In Virginia EVOC, they reveiw some statute that says we have to stop for a school bus even if we are running lights. Im not sure what section of the code it is, but its there

Not saying it's not there but I couldn't find it on the web site search. I'd be very interested to know what code section it is, if you happen to find out please post back here and/or PM me.

Without having a specific code on the subject & without the benefit of a law degree I would say that based on the code sections listed at the end of my post, that this simply falls under the heading of "due regard to the safety of persons and property"

Combine 2 statutes that state we must exercise "due regard to the safety of persons and property" when proceeding through signals AND when passing/overtaking other vehicles and I think that pretty well covers it.

Even without a law or laws on the subject - it is just good common sense based on vafish's own thoughts.
... the bus driver would be the one to know where the kids were and when/if it would be safe for the ambulance to proceed.

Whether in an Emergency Vehicle or in my POV - I will NEVER pass a school bus until the driver has indicated that it is safe for me to do so. I have had more than one occasion where I was approaching a stopped school bus and had the driver stop the children from exiting the bus, shut the door & motion me through. Even had one driver (who could see me coming from the opposite direction for a good distance) call children back ON the bus & close the door.

All of the following can be found at: http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm

46.2-829. Approach of law-enforcement or fire-fighting vehicles, rescue vehicles, or ambulances; violation as failure to yield right-of-way.

46.2-844. Passing stopped school buses; penalty; prima facie evidence.

46.2-920. Certain vehicles exempt from regulations in certain situations; exceptions and additional requirements.

Steamboat Bill
11-03-2004, 01:07
The textbooks just about all say stop for the school bus until the driver disables the lights/stop sign or motions you to procede.

Slinger646
11-03-2004, 01:31
Im helping out in an EVOC class this weekend, i'll check it out

N2DFire
11-03-2004, 07:15
Originally posted by Slinger646
Im helping out in an EVOC class this weekend, i'll check it out

Great - Thanks a lot. The VA Leg. search site is really a bear to use unless you already know what you're looking for (kinda defeats the purpose huh?)

vafish
11-03-2004, 11:06
Originally posted by N2DFire
Great - Thanks a lot. The VA Leg. search site is really a bear to use unless you already know what you're looking for (kinda defeats the purpose huh?)

Sounds like it is by lawyers and for lawyers. (maybe we could come up with a line of suits with a big "BLFL" on them)

Pa Glock guy
11-03-2004, 14:38
I know this is not Virginia but in PA the law recently changed so that an emergency vechile can procede thru the flashing red lights on a school bus after they stop and procede with caution. Im a school bus driver along with a career fire fighter. Before that, the only vechile that was legal to go thru the red lights was a mail truck! I guess the mail must go thru! Obviously different states have different laws. Now if its a divided highway and you are going the opposite way you can go thru the red lights but only if there is some type of physical barrier between the lanes.

medic0079
11-03-2004, 20:39
i work in florida, in the county i work in not only do we have to stop for school buses, we also have to obey school zones. i.e. if driving code and hit a school zone we have to turn of the siren and go the posted speed limit (usualy 15mph)

Steamboat Bill
11-04-2004, 22:17
Those pesky mail trucks can do just about anything they want, according to my father who drove one around for about 36 years.

Slinger646
11-08-2004, 23:52
Ok, according to VDFP EVOC handbook, you have to stop for school buses, it doesnot list a code section, but does say its state law.

Hope this helps:)

Glock-A-Roo
11-09-2004, 12:47
Same here in SC: EMS must stop for a school bus w/ flag. No exceptions.

firedog978
11-14-2004, 10:35
As a driver/operator for Cincinnati Fire since March of '82 and on the job since 9-75, the Ohio law states for an emergency response that ALL TRAFFIC LAWS WILL BE OBEYED, then proceed with caution. In other words, stop at all lights and stop signs and when determined safe (vehicles and pedestrians yielding to you), you can proceed. This goes for school buses as well. STOP, DETERMINE IT IS SAFE, THEN PROCEED. When proceeding past a school bus, I always check, double check, then check again! AND DID I MENTION,CHECK AGAIN?

Pa Glock guy
11-14-2004, 10:48
firedog978, do you know how long Ohio has had that law about emergency vechiles being able to procede thru the red lights on a bus? For many years it was illegal is PA for an emergency vechile to go thru the red lights but they just changed the lawthat were able to do it after making sure the coast is clear. As a career fire fighter and school bus driver I think its an accident waiting to happen but am curious to see how long you guys have had this law and have there been any unfortunate occurences. Thanks.

firedog978
11-15-2004, 14:36
sorry, I don't.

obxemt
11-20-2004, 17:26
Originally posted by obxprnstar
As the law was explained to me here in NC, no one except the post master has the authority to pass a stopped school bus.

Whoever told you that is a complete moron.

Under NCGS 20-217, there are no exemptions.

It's long been held that if three emergency vehicles and a postal vehicle meet at an intersecion, the mail has the right of way (rediculous as that is), so that may have been the cause of their confusion.

The statutory wording is fairly firm, it states "this section is a safety statute designed for the protection of life, limb and property". I'll risk getting this month's issue of Firehouse a few minutes late so that someone's child doesn't get smoked by the postman.

Brian Dover
11-20-2004, 21:27
Under the heading of "what if?", does an escorted funeral procession have to stop for that school bus with its arm extended and red lights flashing? Okay, who's got the right of way between an ambulance and a funeral procession? How about a funeral procession, ambulance, fire truck, police car, school bus, and mail truck all arriving from different directions at a six way intersection?;f
Funny this came up. In my l'il burg our police and fire divisions don't currently have the ability to monitor each other's radio channels, or communicate directly. (Temporary problem, should be fixed soon.) Anyhow, just the other day there was almost an interagency wreck due to this factoid. Coming to the same intersection from cross streets, could only hear their own sirens, at least 'til they got close to the intersection.
Hope this adds to the thread, no intention of hijacking it.

obxemt
11-21-2004, 07:31
In NC, yielding to a funeral procession is a courtesy, not a law. However in larger cities, those processions are commonly headed up by a police car (which I think is a liability nightmare). Blue lights and siren are authorized by statute only while in actual pursuit of a violator or in response to a law actually or potentially being broken. So legally, police in NC cannot run code to EMS calls, let alone for going through red lights with a funeral procession.

JGinzo
11-24-2004, 20:20
If you are traveling the opposite direction of the stopped school bus with their signs and lights on and the median divding the road is 4 feet or less you MUST stop. That's the law....