Operation Stop: Keeping roads safe for students
By CPSD Communications Intern Lexey Monceaux
CLINTON - Back to school season is in full swing for students, families, teachers, and drivers. The roadways around Clinton are busier due to school traffic and motorists are once again seeing buses in their neighborhoods and on the streets.
For the Clinton Public School District and drivers, the safety of the students who ride the bus is paramount, and with this comes the hope that drivers around Clinton will also be aware and follow all traffic laws when it comes to school buses.
The new Director of Transportation for the Clinton Public School District, Donny Gray, is all about the safety of the students on the buses.
“My hope is that the drivers around Clinton will respect the stop sign and flashing lights, stop an appropriate distance back from the bus and watch for exiting students,” he said.
The full impact of what can happen due to a distracted driver passing a stopped bus came to pass in 2009.
In December 2009, 5-year-old Nathan Key was struck and killed by an impatient driver who illegally passed by his stopped bus. The devastating loss of her child urged Nathan’s mother Lori McJohnson to advocate for bus safety. Thanks to her efforts, we now have Nathan’s Law.
Nathan’s Law increased the penalties for motorists who pass by stopped buses. For a first offense the fine can be anywhere from $350 to $750, for a second offense the fine is increased further, $750 to $1,500 with a 90-day license suspension. Nathan’s Law also allowed for cameras to be put on stop arms, as well as upping the requirements that bus drivers meet in order to retain their license.
For anyone who takes on the responsibility of school children, and as Donny Gray knows, the legacy of Nathan Key is significant: “Nathan’s Law was a win for the restless minds of parents, it was a win for teachers and school administrators and for any community that has buses running through it, but most importantly it was a win for the safety and care of our children,” he said.
To start the school year off right and to continue it well, Gray has a charge for the drivers in Clinton: “The next time anyone driving sees a bus stopped with the arm out and its lights flashing, don’t roll through. Instead, be alert and join in being part of keeping the kids of our community safe.”
For more information on Nathan’s Law and School Bus Safety go to https://www.mdek12.org/OSOS/SBS