To the editor:

I drive a school bus for the Conway School District, and from what I see, there seems to be some confusion as to how drivers should interact with a school bus as we load and unload our students. Perhaps I can simplify this by explaining my actions at a bus stop and what is expected from you as a driver.

At 100 feet before a bus stop, I will turn on the yellow or amber flashing lights on top of the bus. These are warning lights indicating the bus will stop shortly. You should be braking to a stop at least 25 feet from the bus. 

Upon stopping, I will activate my red flashing lights atop the bus and my lighted red stop arm. At this point, you must stop all lanes, going both directions. Just stop. It’s the law. This isn’t a traffic signal where you can speed up on yellow trying to beat the red. If there’s a kid who is late sprinting for the bus, you’re on a collision course. 

We teach our students how to properly load and unload a bus, but again, they are kids, they forget. Their actions are unpredictable, they don’t know how this works. You do.

No police around, you’ll chance it? This state recognizes the bus driver and other motorists as a witness. When we send out a complaint — you’ll get your ticket along with a fine, an insurance increase and possible license suspension. All that pales in comparison to the harm you’ll have done by hitting one of my students. 

Like I said, it is simple. Just stop. Still confused? Plan it safe ... just stop, there’s no harm in stopping too soon and you may have saved a life. I do hope this was helpful. Let’s all be safe out there.

Ben Falcey

Center Conway

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