Police Chief: “Zero Tolerance” For Drivers Passing School Busses

By Lura Jackson

 

With school now in session, local drivers are strongly cautioned to heed traffic laws and stop whenever a school bus is unloading or picking up children. Anytime a bus is utilizing its flashing lights indicating it is stopped or preparing to stop, drivers should also come to a complete stop. Failing to do so could result in a ticket, Calais Police Chief David Randall warns.

“We want everybody to watch for the school buses’ red lights, because this will be another zero-tolerance year,” Randall said. “If you pass a school bus, you’re going to get a ticket.”

Last year, the problem of drivers passing school buses arose at the start of the schoolyear. Community members from neighborhoods around town began contacting the police department and the school system with their concerns, but a lack of evidence against some offenders yielded no results. 

“The problem was that the bus drivers were unwilling to report them,” Superintendent Ron Jenkins expressed. After speaking emphatically with bus company First Student to address the problem, the number of incidents steadily decreased. Jenkins said he has been very pleased with how First Student has responded to such requests thus far. 

This year, Jenkins has already been in communication with First Student. Per Jenkins, the company has a new supervisor in the region. “We have stressed to the new supervisor that we want anyone passing the bus to be reported,” Jenkins said. “I don’t care who it is, if it’s me, I want me reported. We don’t want anybody passing the bus while the lights are on.”