Passing buses: popular but not recommended
By ANDREA FURLONG
An increasing number of drivers are illegally passing Williamsburg School buses, according to police chief Marty Koch.
Williamsburg Police issued two to three tickets per year “for the longest time” until 2008, when police caught 18 drivers illegally passing buses in the town, Koch said. Since January, the police department has written nine citations for illegal passing of a bus this year. Koch said he is disappointed to see the numbers increase so much in two years.
“We would just as soon not have them occur,” he said.
Koch defined illegally passing of a bus as “passing it when the red lights are flashing and its stop sign arm is (extended).” Under state law, police officers are required to write a ticket on the first offense.
“No warnings are allowed,” he said.
The ticket fine is $195.
The majority of the tickets have been issued along E. Welsh Street outside Williamsburg Elementary School, generally directly before and after school hours. Koch said the best solution his department has developed is to ask drivers to avoid E. Welsh Street between 7:50 to 8:10 a.m. and 3:10 to 3:35 p.m. Koch said he believes this method could prove to be the most effective in protecting student safety.
Ultimately, Koch said he would like to reverse the trend in the number of school bus-passing violations in Williamsburg.
“The goal is no violations,” he said.
UPDATED October 14, 2009 11:41 AM