Police Capt. Eric F. Wilsusen said that with the rise in parents driving rather than walking their children to bus stops, there has been an increase in the number of vehicles parked near the stops.
"Some bus stops have in excess of 10 vehicles parked at some stops," Wilsusen said in a statement. "The numerous vehicles are causing concerns for traffic and pedestrian safety, particularly at busy intersections."
He added that the police department has seen "numerous complaints" from the community regarding the issue.
Jefferson Police urge parents to assist by walking their children to bus stops whenever possible.
Wilsusen shared a list of motor vehicle parking laws that police are asking parents to obey:
- 39:4-135 – Vehicle must park on the right side of the roadway
- 39:4-138a – No parking within an intersection
- 39:4-138b – No parking within a crosswalk
- 39:4-138c – No parking in front of a public or private drive
- 39:4-138d – No parking within 25 feet of an intersection
- 39:4-138h – No parking within 50 feet of a stop sign
- 39:4-138m – No double parking
In addition, he said police will increase patrols by marked and unmarked cars to enforce laws.
One particular focus, said Wilusen, will be motorists who illegally pass school buses. A pilot program is in the works between Jefferson Police and Jefferson Township Schools to ticket drivers who pass stopped school buses.
"Selected buses are equipped with cameras that capture the vehicle information of vehicle that pass a bus when its red lights are activated," the captain said. "The cameras can be moved between buses to monitor problem routes in which bus drivers have repeated offenders in problem area.
"Motorists who are captured passing stopped school buses will be issued summonses."
Auto Club AAA offers the following tips for drivers to help protect children walking and waiting for school buses:
- Slow down in and near school and residential areas.
- Drive with your headlights on—even during the day—so children and other drivers can see you.
- Look for clues that indicate children may be in the area such as School Safety Patrollers, bicycles and playgrounds.
- Scan between parked cars and other objects where children could dart into the road.
- Since school children travel the roadways on a regular schedule, adjust your routine by five or ten minutes to avoid busy pedestrian zones and frequent bus stops.
- Practice extra caution in bad weather.
- Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.
- Vehicle must stop in all directions while the bus has its red lights activated, this includes intersections.
- Never use a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. Texting and driving is the leading cause of inattentive driving.