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Letter: School buses must block off street when dropping off children

By now everyone has seen the frightening video footage the Scoop posted of a young child struck while getting off his bus on Friday. (And by the way, thank you TLS for posting it. As scary as it is, it’s a must-watch for every driver.)

As a Brooklyn native, my first reaction after the shock and anger wore off, was a simple solution to avoid having a repeat of such a scenario.

As seen in Brooklyn and other cities, school buses don’t take chances with children’s lives, and block off the road with their bus until the child gets to the sidewalk safely. This must be done here in Lakewood and around the State. Illegal? Change the law – for the sake of saving children’s lives.

Thank you.

(TLS welcomes your letters by submitting them to letters@thelakewoodscoop.com)

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There are 21 Comments to "Letter: School buses must block off street when dropping off children"

  • Just a somebody says:

    Here’s a thought. Instead of writing letters to the scoop about changing the law, take action and get it changed. Until that happens, it is unreasonable to expect drivers to do something that may potentially get them a ticket.

  • Bus driver says:

    As a bus driver. In NJ, it is illegal to block diagonally as they do in NY. The legislature should pass a law allowing buses to block diagonally as well as stop sign cameras installed for those who do not stop for a school bus.

  • Moe says:

    We can try to fight and change the law in New Jersey. I don’t think it’s likely, though.

    We should push, however, for dashcams on the buses. I think Jackson township already does it. Obviously it wouldn’t prevent a tragedy like this, but more enforcement is needed.

  • Anonymous says:

    As good as it sounds, we also can’t forget that the DRIVERS should also take responsibility and know that when a bus is near to slow down and be prepared to stop! The driver in the video clearly seemed to be going at a high speed. Car drivers should be vigilant as well as bus drivers so this doesn’t happen again

  • Lakewood says:

    Maybe the stop signs should be longer so that the cars cannot pass the bus without hitting the sign. The small school bus that stop on the side to drop off the kids, one can easily miss the lights and the sign if not driving a van. Many improvements can be made regarding the technicalities of the lights and signs.

  • Refuah shelaima says:

    Please tell me how that little boy is doing???? I really hope he is okay!

  • Annon says:

    Best solution would be not to drop the kids off on the wrong side of the street especially on an Avenue or when its dark outside. Just a bit of common sense would avoid such accidents.

  • Devora says:

    Absolutely!!! Yes! Yes! When I see a bus with atop sign on, on a busy street, I block off so cars behind me can’t pass. Because there’s always that one wild maniac, whose better, and must get by. My son is tall, and they were dropping him off on route 9, into oncoming traffic, at dark, because it’s inconvenient for the driver to make the turn. I fought it. Why is safety not first anymore.

  • Just a thought says:

    Y can’t u just stop for the stop sign! As that is the law!!!!

  • Mordechai says:

    Unfortunately, this seems to be the best idea. Obviously, this needs lobbying in Trenton.

  • Anonymous says:

    School bus drivers should slow before the stop and use the yellow warning lights. Too many bus drivers leave me with less than split-second reaction time to stop.

  • Zumy says:

    In the unfortunate scenario from Friday, the only real immediate, solution is that kids only get dropped off on their side of the road. If they have to cross, its already courting disaster .

  • Common Sense says:

    No fingers should be pointed anywhere but at the car drivers! We drivers must TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for our actions and for the safety of all children, not just our own.

    My father z”l taught me when I learned to drive, that if you see a ball bouncing in the street you should expect there to be a child running after it, and slow down and be prepared to stop. So too, if you see a school bus on the road, you should automatically slow down and be prepared to stop. EXPECT there to be children nearby, that you can’t see until it’s too late.

    Don’t speed up thinking you can get past it before the lights come on – for all you know it already dropped off a child, who is about to cross in front of you!

    And it’s not an excuse to say you didn’t see or notice the school bus! If you are so distracted or blind to your surroundings, you should not be driving until you learn how to do it safely.

    It is time that ALL DRIVERS should pay more attention to their surroundings, focus on their driving, and drive more defensively than offensively. Remember that your car is a deadly weapon, like a gun with an unlocked trigger, and treat your life and the lives of those around you with more compassion and caution.

    May Hashem give the boy who was hit a refuah shelayma b’korov, and may the driver who hit him do teshuva by becoming an advocate for safer driving.

  • J. B. says:

    Busses blocking streets are extremely dangerous and illegal in Brooklyn too.
    In Lakewood, however, if the police will enforce proper driving, you wouldn’t be seeing such videos on a regular basis.

  • Complex Situation says:

    I wish the boy a speedy recovery. In my humble opinion, after watching the video a few times I observed a few things to ponder. It seems to me that the boy should not have tried to outrun the car even though the car was 100% in the wrong (yes, boys will be boys). The car that struck him should have stopped for the bus. It is not clear to me in the video if the red lights were flashing. That may be because of the video and lighting. The stop sign is definitely in the stop position. The sun is directly behind the bus and will cause enough glare on the car’s windshield to not see practically everything. The sun, this time of year, is very low so even a sun visor may not help. This is a complex situation but one thing I think is clear: considering the conditions, the driver was going too fast even if the glare caused him not to see the lights or the road ahead, I think a school bus would be obvious to see under any conditions. I did not see the driver apply the brakes even after striking the boy and continued all the way down the block before stopping. It looked like he wasn’t going to stop at all. I wonder if cell-phone use was involved. I think that would further explain the driver’s oblivious actions. Sun-glare is dangerous and you must slow down or even stop if you can’t see what’s in front of you.

  • Seichel says:

    Actually I see busses all over town doing this stopping diagonally into the opposite lane which is very dangerous because the oncoming cars cannot see the flashing lights.
    Instead make a law that no yellow lights until the bus actually reaches the stop. This happens all the time I stop for a bus with yellow lights only to have the bus wiz by me and if there is no real warning for when the bus will stop then it is very hard to stop suddenly when the red lights come on without warning

  • A friend says:

    Refuah sheleima: the boy is Bh doing good bh

  • My experience says:

    I drive allot around Lakewood.
    What I noticed is that when the driver put the red lights on its to late for some drivers to stop.
    Drivers keep driving same speed even when yellow lights are flashing.
    Maybe a idea when the bus driver puts on the red lights to wait 10 seconds before allowing kids to come to bus.

    And not let kids cross the street immediately maybe the idea will be.

    Red lights
    10 seconds later a honk or special noise to tell children they can cross.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have also witnessed a BUS pass by another bus with its red lights flashing…

  • Nm says:

    I’m a bus driver in Lakewood..when any of my kids have to cross the street I make sure that car is stoped before I let that child off.

  • IK says:

    As a School Bus driver for many years I believe that stopping diagonal poses very great risks of danger that I hardly believe that it will become leagl. If the street is not small enough to block the entire street from side to side you are opening a passage to the right side of the bus which is extremely dangerous since neither the kids nor the driver expects a car to come that way, I’ve seen bus drivers do that and leave wide space open even for a school bus to pass on the right while not even closing fully the left side, and also by stopping diagonal your red light are now not visible to other traffic.