Video Catches Cars Whizzing By Stopped School Bus

Three cars ignore school bus stop sign as children board.

After months of worrying while walking his kids to the school bus stop located on Second Avenue and Cameron Street, a Silver Spring father of two took matters — and a video camera — into his own hands Tuesday morning.

Parents have grown increasingly disturbed by drivers violating the school bus stop sign — while their children come on and off the bus, according to Andrew Cohen, the 37 year-old resident who took the video.

There needs to be more respect for the school bus stop sign, Cohen said.

“What happens when a kid gets off the bus, has to cross the street and someone blows the stop sign and hits the kid? No one wants to have to deal with that,” Cohen said.

This is an issue that Montgomery County officials are well aware of. In November 2011, then County Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) proposed Bill 37-11. The legislation would install cameras on over 1,200 county school buses to catch offending drivers and be operated under the authority of Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger. Violators would be fined up to $250 dollars for the civil offense.

It is co-sponsored by Council Vice President Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1), Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Dist. 3) and Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 2)

Cohen said this proposed legislation isn’t enough because there is already a law on the books that fines drivers up to $570 and adds two-points to their licenses. Yet many drivers are still failing to stop at the Second Avenue intersection.

A survey conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) back in February of 2011 showed how prevalent the issue is throughout the state.

It recorded 7,028 statewide drivers who violated the school bus stop sign, according to the survey. About 1,645 of the violators were from Montgomery County.

This isn’t an issue the county takes lightly, County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) said.

“School children need the protection that a stop sign on a school bus is intended to create and, unfortunately, there is way too much evidence that the stop sign is ignored,” Berliner added.

Berliner admitted that the law is hard to enforce without direct police supervision.

“In the absence of cameras, it’s very difficult for us to make sure this important law is being honored,” he added.

When the program will begin and how much it will cost has yet to be determined.

The Montgomery County Council Public Safety Committee is scheduled to address Bill 37-11 on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Office Building located in Rockville.

Bailey Henneberg February 01, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What a scary visual — kids getting on the school bus, and the cars aren't stopping.
Mike February 01, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I am sick of the reckless driving. I can't tell you how many times I've almost been run down by speeding motorist as I try to cross Spring Street between 1st and 2nd Ave to take my daughter into her daycare center. There are also clearly marked crosswalks near 1st Ave by the Woodside Park playground and cars WILL NOT stop for pedestrians. I have contacted Montgomery County and requested that speed cameras be removed from the open stretch of highway on Georgia Ave and place them along this portion of Spring Street but I'm afraid they have little interest in doing so because they will make much more money by having those cameras on the open stretch of Georgia Ave where speeding has less impact on individual safety than on a less traveled road where pedestrians and children are at real risk of being injured or killed. But, the speed camera program is about safety and not revenue, right???
jag February 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Awful. The fact is many people don't give a crap about anyone else, so long as they think they can get away with it. Put the cameras on the buses NOW.
John February 01, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I hope Mr. Cohen has contacted the local police station about this. School buses are on a set schedule, so it should not be difficult for the police to send an officer to this location for a small period of time every day.
John February 01, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I should add that the number for the Silver Spring police station is (301) 565-7744.
Charles L.Garris February 01, 2012 at 06:10 PM
The fine for passing a stopped school bus with flashing red lights should be $1,000.00 or jail time if they cannot pay.
Jonathan Bernstein February 07, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Stopping at crosswalks and noticing RED FLASHING LIGHTS on a stopped school bus is learned behavior - when helping young people learn to drive, I was reminded that even noticing and stopping at a stop sign is not intuitive, but learned behavior. The more we emphasize pedestrian safety with many different approaches, the more drivers will learn. In fact, the best thing about cameras and stiff fines for blowing past school buses would be the press and visibility given to the issue that will get the attention of more drivers.
Amanueel April 28, 2013 at 01:02 PM
I applaud to Mr. Cohen for his great initiative, we all should follow his example. I agree with Charles L Garris, Jail time and 1000.00 fine would serve as a wake up call.......


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