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Wilton Police Watching For School Bus Passers

WILTON, Conn.  – Wilton Police want to keep school children safe, so officers are keeping their eyes out for drivers who pass stopped school buses.

Wilton Police Capt. John Lynch said the department relies on its officers, bus drivers and residents to spot drivers who pass a school buses. Lynch said there are officers who monitor traffic on the streets and occasionally travel on a bus to monitor traffic and spot violators.

Wilton Police had state Department of Transportation officials install “bus stop ahead” signs on areas of Route 7 where school buses stop to pick up and drop off Wilton students. State rules require that traffic stop in all four lanes of Route 7 if a school bus comes to a stop and blinks its lights.

“Everybody has to stop,” Lynch said, noting that the only exception to this if a 4-lane road is separated by a median.

Lynch noted that can be difficult because some drivers going in one direction may not pay attention to drivers headed in another direction. “If you see those flashing lights, you’d better be prepared to stop,” he said. That also includes on school grounds, Lynch said, though some parents have tried to pass parked buses in pickup areas in front of schools.

During the 2011-12 school year, Wilton Police recorded 25 school bus complaints and seven motorists were issued tickets with $460 fines for passing school buses, while 11 others were given written warnings. In the other seven cases, no action was taken.

So far this school year, police are investigating one incident of a possible bus passing.

Before the start of the year, Chief Michael Lombardo sent a letter to residents warning about passing school buses and asking drivers to give themselves extra time for driving.

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