- SPEEDING/RECKLESS DRIVING. We have had numerous complaints of speeding through the school zones. The FCPD has written countless tickets for this violation in and around crossings and schools in general. Many those tickets have written for more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
- FAILURE TO WEAR SEATBELTS. We have found numerous parents not wearing seatbelts when they drop their children off. Furthermore, we have noted that the parents are not securing children. As a reminder, child restraint devices are REQUIRED FOR CHILDREN THROUGH THE AGE OF SEVEN. (UNTIL THE 8TH BIRTHDAY) REAR FACING CHILD RESTRAINT DEVICES MUST BE PLACED IN THE BACK SEAT OF A VEHICLE. THE ONLY EXCEPTIONS TO THE REAR FACING RULE IS IF THE VEHICLE DOES NOT HAVE A REAR SEAT OR THE PASSENGER SIDE AIRBAG HAS BEEN DEACTIVATED OR THERE IS NO AIRBAG.
- DISCHARGING PASSENGERS ON THE HIGHWAY/STOPPING ON THE HIGHWAY. We have many parents who wish to discharge passengers from their vehicles while waiting in traffic. We also have noted an many occasions that parents will stop in the middle of the street while waiting for their children. Both actions are dangerous and expose both the parents and the children to unnecessary danger. In some instances, these actions result in the street being entirely blocked. Ask yourself, if this were my street, and I needed assistance, could emergency vehicles get through this congestions to assist me?
- NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE CROSSING GUARD. There have been numerous incidents of parents not paying attention to the Crossing Guard. This is attributed to driver inattention (texting while driving) or impatience. We need everyone to pay attention to their driving and their surroundings. We have had far too many incidents of Crossing Guards , vehicles and pedestrians almost struck. Remember, the roads are already congested and taking this extra bit of care will go a long way in the safety of all concerned.
The next topic that I will cover is quite possibly, the most egregious issue that we deal with regarding complaints within school zones. It is passing a stopped school bus. Virginia Sate Code 46.2-859 states:
A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving. The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words “School Bus” in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices shall be identified as school buses. The Penalty for Passing A Stopped School Bus in Virginia. Passing a Stopped School Bus in Virginia under Va. Code §46.2-859 is a form of reckless driving. Therefore, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor.