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ASK A COP: Navigating school zones, railway crossings safely

ASK A COP: Navigating school zones, railway crossings safely

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Q. When do you have to come to a stop regarding a school bus?

Krisa Brass

Cpl. Krisa Brass is with the Scottsbluff Police Department. She will answer questions submitted by readers each week. To submit a question for consideration, email youasked@starherald.com or leave your question in a message, 308-632-9057.

A. According to Nebraska State Statute, upon meeting or overtaking, from the front or rear, any school bus on which the yellow warning signal lights are flashing, the driver of a motor vehicle shall reduce the speed of such vehicle to not more than 25 miles per hour, shall bring such vehicle to a complete stop when the school bus is stopped, the stop signal arm is extended, and the flashing red signal lights are turned on, and shall remain stopped until the flashing red signal lights are turned off, the stop signal arm is retracted, and the school bus resumes motion.

This does not apply to approaching traffic in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Nor does it apply to approaching traffic when there is displayed a sign as provided in subsection 8 of the statute directing traffic to proceed. Subsection 8 states a school bus is parked in a designated school bus loading area which is out of the flow of traffic and is adjacent to a school site. When the school bus is parked on a roadway which possesses more than one lane of traffic flowing in the same direction (and which is adjacent to a school site), the bus driver shall engage only the hazard warning flasher lights when receiving or discharging pupils if a school busy loading area warning is displayed.

The signs shall not be directly attached to the bus but should be free standing and placed at the rear of a parked school bus or line of parked school buses.

Being mindful of school buses is a must not only for the safety of children but also to avoid a hefty fine. If found violating this statute and convicted, the penalty is a $500 fine and loss of points on your license.

Q. Do you really have to wait for railroad crossing arms to go all the way up before driving through?

A. Yes, you really do. When a person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad grade crossing, they most stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of such railroad and shall not proceed until they can do so safely.

This applies when a clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device gives warning of the immediate approach of a railroad train or on-track equipment, a crossing gate is lowered or a flagperson gives or continues to give a signal of the approach or passage of a railroad train or on-track equipment, a railroad train or on-track equipment approaching within approximately one-quarter mile of the highway crossing emits a signal audible from such distance and such railroad train or on-track equipment, by reason of its speed or nearness to such crossing, is an immediate hazard, an approaching railroad train or on-track equipment is plainly visible and is in hazardous proximity to such crossing, a stop sign is erected at such crossing, or a passive warning device is located at or in advance of such crossing and an approaching railroad train or on-track equipment is audible.

It probably sounds like a whole lot of legal jargon, but the part to remember is a person shall not drive any vehicle through, around, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad crossing while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.

Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to youasked@starherald.com or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.


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