Georgia Parents Upset About Change to School Bus Law
GEORGIA – September 11, 2018 (moms.com) An online post at moms.com discusses concerns parents in Georgia have raised about the state’s new law pertaining to school buses.*
The issues surrounding the law are regarding when drivers need to stop for school buses that are letting children off. This year, HB 978, which was originally a bill only about cameras in school zones, underwent changes in the Senate regarding school bus stopping laws.
Georgia law formerly exempted drivers on a highway divided by a grass or concrete median from stopping for school buses on the opposite side of the highway. The new law says drivers on the opposite side of any divided highway, including one divided by a center turning lane, do not have to stop. The clarification has caused some people to wonder what “divided highway” means, and parents and school officials think the change places students in danger.
“In my role as leader of the Georgia Department of Education, I maintain my position that this change in law does not reflect best practices to ensure student safety and could endanger Georgia’s kids as they travel to and from school,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods.
But lawmakers like State Rep. Christian Coomer, of Cassville, Georgia, say the law was just supposed to clarify the rules Georgians already know and practice. “We know across the state that school buses are organized in such a way that children are picked up and dropped off on the same side of a divided highway as the bus is traveling,” Coomer said. “So you won’t have a situation where the child is being let off the school bus and then directed to travel across multiple lanes of traffic on a divided highway to get home.”
The confusion and concern might prompt legislators to readdress the school bus law in their next session.
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