With schools beginning a new year it is important for all drivers to prepare for increased school traffic on the roadways according to Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.
Aug. 15 was the first day of class for the 2013 – 2014 school year for West Sioux Community School students in Hawarden and Ireton.
Every year the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigates school bus violations; bus drivers in Sioux County report that it seems like violations are occurring more frequently.
School bus drivers receive training on these traffic violations. When a driver observes a violation of the bus law a written report is made to a law enforcement officer. When the officer finds that the reported vehicle and driver were in violation a citation is issued. Iowa law requires that a peace officer shall issue a citation in these violations, even though they did not witness the violation. In cases where the violating driver cannot be identified a citation is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.
A summary of the Iowa law regarding school bus violations states that any driver meeting a school bus with its amber warning lights activated shall reduce its speed; the driver must come to a complete stop when the bus is stopped and the stop arm is extended along with the warning lights activated. No driver shall pass a school bus when the red or amber warning lights are flashing.
Any driver who violates the school bus law is guilty of a simple misdemeanor and a fine will be set by the Court. The Court may order imprisonment not to exceed 30 days along with a 30-day suspension of driving privileges. Second and subsequent offenses shall carry more jail time, higher fines and longer suspensions.
“Deputies will again be actively patrolling school zones and known bus stop locations enforcing the school bus law as well as all traffic laws to make sure our children are as safe as possible,” said Sioux County Sheriff Captain Jamison Van Voorst.
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office encourages all drivers to be prepared as a new school year is upon us. Be aware of school buses, children on foot near school bus stops and school zones and increased vehicle traffic by young drivers on their way to and from schools.