School bus safety remains top priority for Harford County Public Schools

School bus safety is the number one priority of the Harford County Public Schools Transportation Department, which has a collaborative relationship with local and state law enforcement agencies to ensure students and bus drivers remain safe.

The HCPS Transportation Department is especially focused on “Red Light Runners,” drivers who pass a school bus illegally while the red lights of the bus are activated.

When a school bus stops to allow passengers to board or disembark the bus, other motorists are alerted by the red lights, a stop sign extending from the driver’s side and the bus arm extending on the passenger’s side. It is illegal to pass a bus with its red lights activated.

Motorists are reminded of the specific laws about stopping for a school bus:

  • Two-lane roadway – All traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Two-lane roadway with a center turning lane – All traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Four-lane roadway without a median separation – All traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Divided highway of two lanes or more with a median separation – Only traffic following the bus must stop.
  • Two-lane roadway – All traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Two-lane roadway with a center turning lane – All traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Four-lane roadway without a median separation – All traffic from both directions must stop.
  • Divided highway of two lanes or more with a median separation – Only traffic following the bus must stop.

The HCPS Transportation Department regularly receives reports of motorists passing a stopped school bus. The reports come from other drivers, school bus drivers and community members.

When a report is received by the HCPS Transportation Department, it is processed and forwarded to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office sends letters to the violators.

Law enforcement agencies take further actions, such as following school buses and/or strategically positioning officers in areas to conduct traffic stops for violators. This response from law enforcement has proven to be successful in addressing and mitigating occurrences of vehicles passing a stopped school bus.

Motorists, as well as community members, parents and students are encouraged to contact the transportation department at 410-638-4092 with any information regarding a vehicle passing a school bus with red lights activated.

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