Did You Know? Passing Horses, Cows and School Buses

Weston School Bus (MS pickup line- crazy times)


As many know, a Weston Middle School student was struck by a car while crossing Church Street yesterday morning to get on a bus. The report said that the injuries were non-life-threatening and that the student was transported to the hospital, but the Owl has no update since yesterday. When I checked in with the Weston Police at around noon yesterday, they were still investigating the accident but stated that the car driver stayed on scene and was cooperating. At that point, it was unclear how many students on the bus had witnessed the accident (the school was prepared with counselors). It is the Owl’s plan to wait for the conclusion of the investigation before surmising fault, speed, etc.

On the other hand, the Owl admits to sending a note to her owlets immediately – they are permitted drivers – and saying “remember what I always say about school buses?” And they grumbled and said “yep” or perhaps they wrote “np” or something “text-y” which makes me crazy. What I tell them about school buses: if you meet one on a street, slow down no matter whether there are yellow lights flashing or not. They know the red light flashing. Everyone knows the red lights, right? You can’t pass. Here’s an idea–even if there is nothing flashing and you are meeting a bus in the opposite lane which is clearly slowing down…slow down. Be aware. Oh fine, I admit I am going to send this post to the Owlets as well. I hope you all have a great deal of sympathy for them. Again, I do not know the circumstances of the accident–it just totally freaked out this parent.

I decided to go check out Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 14 which is the one that covers School Bus Law. And read the first line that says: “Every person operating a motor vehicle shall bring the vehicle and the motor propelling it immediately to a stop when approaching a cow, horse or other draft animal being led, ridden or driven, if such animal appears to be frightened and if the person in charge thereof shall signal so to do; and, if traveling in the opposite direction to that in which such animal is proceeding, said vehicle shall remain stationary so long as may be reasonable to allow such animal to pass; or, if traveling in the same direction, the person operating shall use reasonable caution in thereafter passing such animal.

So I’m going to come right out and say this, Massachusetts: it’s time to reverse the order of admonishments in this law. Apparently, we need to review horses and cows, and oh, second line–passing bicycles–before getting to school buses. I agree that we all pass bicycles with frequency so that review is great but ummm, when is the last time you passed a horse or cow? Well, maybe in western Massachusetts this rings right and true.

In any case, let’s review the School Bus part: “When approaching a vehicle which displays a sign bearing the words ”SCHOOL BUS” and which is equipped with front and rear alternating flashing red signal lamps which are flashing, as provided in section seven B, and which has been stopped to allow pupils to alight from or board the same, a person operating a motor vehicle or trackless trolley shall, except when approaching from the opposite direction on a divided highway, bring his vehicle or trackless trolley to a full stop before reaching said school bus and shall not thereafter proceed until the warning signals are deactivated, unless directed to the contrary by a police officer duly authorized to control the movement of traffic. 

The law goes on to mention fines and how many feet back you must stay from a school bus (100) etc. Is there anything here that you didn’t already know? No. Just remember it. As I said, I have no idea the story of the accident on Church Street. This is just a review of MA state law and what to do if you meet or travel behind a horse, cow or school bus.

Stay safe, Weston!

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