I was driving down one of our local roads (Route 30) yesterday with my son and a neighbor. The road is a four-lane “highway”, with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour for significant portions of the road.
As I’ve written about before, I’m kind of anal about speed limits, and always use a formula of “X plus 7” as my driving speed, where X is the posted speed limit.
As you might imagine on a four-lane highway, most people have a hard time keeping their speed anywhere close to 25 mph. And me being me, I’m always hoping that there will be a police car just waiting to ticket all those people driving over 40 miles per hour.
Alas, it never seems to happen, and yesterday was no different.
As we were driving down the road (in the right-hand lane, naturally), we came up to a traffic light that was green. However, on the other side of the road a school bus pulled up and put on its red lights. The law in Pennsylvania states that if you are driving on a four-lane highway that does not have dividers separating the two sides of the highway, you need to stop when a bus puts on its red lights.
So I stopped, and so did the car beside me, although it stopped a little bit behind me.
Well the car that was directly behind me started honking for me to go through the green light. I waved my arms in the air and pointed to the bus across the way, but the driver did not seem to care, and she honked again. When I still did not move, she managed to pull into the lane next to me, and in front of the car that had not pulled up as far as I had (I was the first car at the light). She then drove through the green light, oblivious to the red lights of the school bus, At that point, I heard some cars on the other side of the road honking at her, but she just kept going.
But then, sweet justice prevailed.
About four cars behind the bus, but in the left lane, there was a police car. The policeman had a perfect view of the whole incident and did a u-turn to pull over the offending driver.
I couldn’t believe it. I was witnessing what I had always hoped for, someone had not obeyed a driving law, and they were pulled over for it. If life only worked this way more often.
All three of us in the car were quite excited to watch this unfold, as we had front row seats for the entire spectacle.
My only hope was that the policeman followed through and gave the driver the appropriate ticket. In Pennsylvania, the penalties are the following:
- The driver is guilty of a summary offense;
- $250.00 fine;
- 60-day license suspension period; and
- 5 points added to driver’s license
I’m sure there are some people reading this thinking that I’m some kind of jerk who enjoys when people are pulled over by the police.
Well if being a jerk means wanting to see justice prevail and believing in right and wrong, then yeah, I guess I am a jerk.
By the way, here’s the actual regulatory code:
§ 3345. Meeting or overtaking school bus.
(a) Duty of approaching driver when red signals are flashing.–Except as provided in subsection (g), the driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking any school bus stopped on a highway or trafficway shall stop at least ten feet before reaching the school bus when the red signal lights on the school bus are flashing and the side stop signal arms are activated under section 4552(b.1) (relating to general requirements for school buses). The driver shall not proceed until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated. In no event shall a driver of a vehicle resume motion of the vehicle until the school children who may have alighted from the school bus have reached a place of safety. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection at which a school bus is stopped shall stop his vehicle at that intersection until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated.
Sergeant Phil Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues said it best: