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Redlights and School Busses

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by vafish, Nov 1, 2004.


  1. vafish

    vafish
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    A friend of mine saw something interesting the other morning. I figured you guys would be the ones to ask.

    This happened in Fairfax County, VA if it matters.

    Anyhow here is what happend.

    Friend was comuting to work in the morning. School bus stopped to let on childern. He was behind the bus and stopped for the lights/stop sign. While he was waiting an ambulance on a call came from the other direction. It stopped for the school bus, and waited until the school bus driver shut off the red lights and brought in the stop sign before proceeding.

    I've seen plenty of ambulances and fire trucks go through red lights at intersections. Normally the come to a full stop or pretty near a full stop before proceeding through the light.

    We just thought it was strange that the ambulance driver waited until the school bus retracted the stop sign before they proceeded.

    Our thought was that the bus driver would be the one to know where the kids were and when/if it would be safe for the ambulance to proceed. But we were wondering what the regulations and proceedures were for such an encounter. Are the ambulances required to wait until the bus retracts the sign? or was the ambulance driver simply being cautious?
     

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  2. Jon509

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    Same procedure as clearing an intersection, but even more cautious because sometimes kids just run to or from the bus without looking. They probably were just making sure another kid didn't run from out of the woodwork and get hit.

    IMHO a good job of being aware on the drivers part.

    Jon
     

  3. mfackler

    mfackler
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    Yep. I think thats the right thing to do. If I'm in the ambulance, we stop for buses. I may be mistaken be I believe it's the law here in Ohio. I don't believe ambulances have any special rights when it comes to School buses.
     
  4. Alpha752

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    I dont know about the law (but ill check into it), but its just the right thing to do. Sure, they may have a critical patient, but what happens if they smack a kid getting off the bus?

    Every vehicle should stop for a school bus, emergency or not. There is no emergency that is important enough to put our kids in danger.
     
  5. hotpig

    hotpig
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    IAFF Local 4766
    CLM

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    In Illinois the stop arm means stop. There is no excemption for Emergency vehicles.
     
  6. vafish

    vafish
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    .......Not to hijack my own thread, but,

    I agree, Wish the guy I saw the other day thought the same, then again maybe he just wasn't paying attention.

    A small utility trailer with a flat tire had been abandoned along side the road. A cop was sitting behind it with his blue lights on. I was coming from the other direction, A few hundred yards past the cop/trailer a school bus pulled up and stopped to pick up kids, I went past before the light and arm came out. People behind the bus stopped in the left lane, right lane was empty. A person in a Jeep Cherokee past the cop, slammed on his breaks to avoid hitting the cars in the lft lane, swerved to the right almost clipping the bus, and slid right on past the bus leaving about 50 feet of skid marks, let off his breaks and kept going. Last I saw in my rearview mirror was the cop pulling out, bus stop arm retracting and cop accelerating after the jeep.

    Back to the original thread....

    I was just wondering if they were legally required to wait until the stop arm was retracted, could the do a stop and go, or could they just blow through the busses stop sign.

    I also have no idea if the ambulance was going to a call or had already picked up the patient. I guess if they had a patient their condition could also be an issue.
     
  7. obxprnstar

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    As the law was explained to me here in NC, no one except the post master has the authority to pass a stopped school bus.
     
  8. TerraMedicX

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    My last ambulance company required that all ambulances traveling code MUST shut-down in active school zones and stop for a school bus with it's arm out. Now, I don't know if this was a law, but the reasoning behind the policy is that kids are often drawn to the flashing lights and sirens which could cause them to run out into the road. Trust me, NO ONE wants to hit a kid in an ambulance while going code (My old partner did this nine months ago and he's gone through hell since).


    Nate.
     
  9. Slinger646

    Slinger646
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    In Virginia EVOC, they reveiw some statute that says we have to stop for a school bus even if we are running lights. Im not sure what section of the code it is, but its there
     
  10. Slinger646

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    King of Sling

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    triple tap;g sorry
     
  11. Slinger646

    Slinger646
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    King of Sling

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    triple tap;g
     
  12. Slinger646

    Slinger646
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    King of Sling

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    triple tap;g
     
  13. N2DFire

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    Not saying it's not there but I couldn't find it on the web site search. I'd be very interested to know what code section it is, if you happen to find out please post back here and/or PM me.

    Without having a specific code on the subject & without the benefit of a law degree I would say that based on the code sections listed at the end of my post, that this simply falls under the heading of "due regard to the safety of persons and property"

    Combine 2 statutes that state we must exercise "due regard to the safety of persons and property" when proceeding through signals AND when passing/overtaking other vehicles and I think that pretty well covers it.

    Even without a law or laws on the subject - it is just good common sense based on vafish's own thoughts.
    Whether in an Emergency Vehicle or in my POV - I will NEVER pass a school bus until the driver has indicated that it is safe for me to do so. I have had more than one occasion where I was approaching a stopped school bus and had the driver stop the children from exiting the bus, shut the door & motion me through. Even had one driver (who could see me coming from the opposite direction for a good distance) call children back ON the bus & close the door.

    All of the following can be found at: http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm

    § 46.2-829. Approach of law-enforcement or fire-fighting vehicles, rescue vehicles, or ambulances; violation as failure to yield right-of-way.

    § 46.2-844. Passing stopped school buses; penalty; prima facie evidence.

    § 46.2-920. Certain vehicles exempt from regulations in certain situations; exceptions and additional requirements.
     
  14. Steamboat Bill

    Steamboat Bill
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    The textbooks just about all say stop for the school bus until the driver disables the lights/stop sign or motions you to procede.
     
  15. Slinger646

    Slinger646
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    King of Sling

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    Im helping out in an EVOC class this weekend, i'll check it out
     
  16. N2DFire

    N2DFire
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    Who Me ???

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    Great - Thanks a lot. The VA Leg. search site is really a bear to use unless you already know what you're looking for (kinda defeats the purpose huh?)
     
  17. vafish

    vafish
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    Sounds like it is by lawyers and for lawyers. (maybe we could come up with a line of suits with a big "BLFL" on them)
     
  18. Pa Glock guy

    Pa Glock guy
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    I know this is not Virginia but in PA the law recently changed so that an emergency vechile can procede thru the flashing red lights on a school bus after they stop and procede with caution. Im a school bus driver along with a career fire fighter. Before that, the only vechile that was legal to go thru the red lights was a mail truck! I guess the mail must go thru! Obviously different states have different laws. Now if its a divided highway and you are going the opposite way you can go thru the red lights but only if there is some type of physical barrier between the lanes.
     
  19. medic0079

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    i work in florida, in the county i work in not only do we have to stop for school buses, we also have to obey school zones. i.e. if driving code and hit a school zone we have to turn of the siren and go the posted speed limit (usualy 15mph)
     
  20. Steamboat Bill

    Steamboat Bill
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    What've I done?

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    Those pesky mail trucks can do just about anything they want, according to my father who drove one around for about 36 years.
     
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