LEVERETT, Mass. (WWLP) – Parents are frustrated after several cars were caught on camera passing their children’s school bus while it is stopped.

Passing through a bus stop sign is illegal. School bus-related injuries are most common to pedestrians who are boarding/exiting a bus. They can be hit by passing traffic or even by the bus driver, who cannot see them in the blind spots surrounding the bus.

AAA experts tell 22News that school bus-related injuries are most common to pedestrians who are boarding and exiting a bus. Children who are 4 to 7 years old are at the highest risk of injury.

“12 children were killed and another 47 were injured getting on and off school busses,” says Mark Schieldrop of AAA Northeast. “Those are national statistics, and those are cases when the stop arm was extended at the time.”

Parents Wes and Audra Goscenski of Long Plain Road recorded videos of drivers disregarding the red flashing lights on their children’s school bus dropping off and picking up their children who attend Leverett Elementary School. The videos were sent to police, the Leverett Select Board, and state officials to help increase public safety.

MAP: Leverett Elementary School

Senator Jo Comerford and Representative Natalie Blais are seeking to raise awareness about the laws around school bus safety. A news conference is being held Tuesday, May 2nd at 12 p.m. at the home of the Goscenski’s with the following officials:

  • Representative Natalie M. Blais, 1st Franklin District (D-Deerfield)
  • Senator Jo Comerford, Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District (D-Northampton)
  • Town of Leverett Selectboard
  • Dr. Annie Foley Ruiz, Principal, Leverett Elementary School
  • Kim Williams, Owner, Ja’Duke Driving School
  • Five Star Bus Company

The following information is directly from the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual:

Yellow school buses have flashing red lights and stop signs that fold out from the driver’s
side. School pupil transport vehicles, like vans, station wagons, or family sedans, have
flashing red lights and SCHOOL BUS signs on top. Drivers use these warning signals when
letting pupils on and off.

If a school bus or a school pupil transport vehicle has its lights flashing and a stop
sign extended, you must stop. It does not matter which side of the road
you are traveling on. Remain stopped until the lights stop flashing or the stop sign
folds back.

A first violation of this law can cause a license suspension and a $250 fine.

The only exception to this law is if a school bus has stopped on the other side of a divided
highway with a barrier between travel directions. In this case, you do not have to stop.