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April 15, 2013  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

Bill aimed at protecting students on private roads approved

By Kelly Roher


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PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer has approved legislation that clarifies for school bus drivers when and where they must activate their bus’ flashing lights and stop arm while on the road.  

Previously, officials said the law was not clear in terms of whether bus drivers must engage the warning lights and stop arm on private roads and driveways.

House Bill (HB) 2170 revises the current law to state that, “When transporting schoolchildren to or from school or home, the operator of the school bus shall … display the [stop-arm] signal and alternately flashing lights if passengers are being received or discharged while the school bus is stopped on the roadway or a private road or driveway.”

Yvonne Hunter, an attorney with the law firm Fennemore Craig, said, “We believe that HB 2170 will clarify, for training and operation purposes, that school bus drivers must engage the school bus warning lights and stop arm while loading or unloading students when transporting passengers to and from home and school. By changing the statute, this will be a first step toward implementing regulations and training for school bus drivers.”

Hunter is representing, pro bono, the family of Elizabeth Bates. Bates was killed exiting a school bus close to her house on a private road, in a rural part of Arizona where there is little distinction between public and private roads.  

According to Hunter, the school bus driver did not engage the lights or stop arm.

Dean Humphrey, transportation director for Pendergast Elementary School District in West Phoenix, said, “This amendment provides clear direction for the school bus driver as to when they must use the stop signal on the bus.”

Antonio Mlynek, transportation supervisor for special education at Washington Elementary School District #6 in Phoenix, added, “I am happy to see HB 2170 signed into law by Gov. Brewer. The law is clear and makes sense. It’s the right thing to do.”

Officials said HB 2170 will become law 90 days after the current legislative session ends.


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Read more about: Arizona, stop arm running/illegal passing


Can you tell me if this law will also go in affect for GA School bus drivers?

judy owens    |    Apr 23, 2013 04:00 AM

The article probably was not intended to cover the issues involving private roads. The law, as presented does not seem to give permission to use private roads at will. Would have to assume that first the private property owner/s granted permission for school buses to use their road, or to use a private driveway as a turn-a-round. Private roads often involve increasing risk when used. Many private roads in our area are not built to handle large vehicles on a daily basis. Garbage trucks, occasional dump trucks, and such drive about five-MPH, do not damage the road, and so are often permitted. But for some reason school buses can't seem to get the respect property issue, are sometimes prohibited for that reason, mostly because the bus drivers go too fast and end up damaging the road. In other cases the property owner or owners must sign a release that the district is not responsible if property is damaged, including at private driveway turn-a-rounds, which of course ends access to many of those roads and driveways.

jkraemer    |    Apr 16, 2013 10:11 PM

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