He says it doesn’t matter if you’re meeting the bus or coming up behind the bus — if the red lights are flashing and/or if the stop sign is out, you have to stop.
Kurtz says that’s because the bus might be stopping to drop off a student who lives on the other side of the road.
He clarifies that if you are meeting the bus, and the yellow lights are on, you can proceed cautiously if you have to, but if you are behind the bus — the yellow lights mean “do not pass”. Once the red lights are on and the stop sign is extended, you need to stop no matter what direction you’re going.
Kurtz says in a recent one-day survey that surveyed just 20 percent of the schools in Iowa, there were 187 such violations. If the statistics would have been for all of the schools, presumably there could have been 935 violations on that one day alone, which is nearly 10 violations per county on that one day.
He says that it took the loss of a northeast Iowa girl’s life years ago to make Iowans think about what needed to change to make the law more effective. He says the penalty is now $750 for a first offense with an optional 30 days in jail for not stopping for the stop arm. But, says Kurtz, the penalty is minimal compared to the tragedy of the loss of a child’s life.