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  1. #1
    tanden5 is offline Junior Member tanden5 is on a distinguished road
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    Am I in big trouble for this? Passing a school bus--Virginia

    After picking up my daughter from preschool, I was on a 4 lane, undivided highway (N and S bound lanes), on my way home. I was in a 25 miles per hour zone and was doing about 20mph at the time. I was coming up onto a traffic light and for whatever reason, I was so focused on not speeding that I accidentally passed a stopped school bus. I got immediately pulled over. I was shown no remorse by the officer and he told me (before he even ran my license) that I was getting a ticket for reckless driving. I was terrified. I started to cry--my kids were crying because I was crying and it was a very bad moment. When the officer returned, I had a respectful discussion with him about discretion. I said that when I drive I always try to have both my children and others in mind. But that I wasn't going to be perfect all of the time, and that I was going to make mistakes. I then said that sometimes its ok to tell drivers that they screwed up and give them another chance to do better. I stated that I meant no disrespect by saying that, but I was just saying it as a citizen. He told me that there were no second chances when it comes to passing a bus. I said that I understood and he told me to have a nice day and drive safely.

    Here in Virginia, passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdeameanor. I have hired a lawyer and I'm hoping for the best. I've been driving for 18 years and I've never had a ticket. My record is clean. I'm a good driver, I just flaked out that day and I am so sorry for it!!!

    Yesterday, the officer who pulled me over came down my cul-de-sac and checked out my house. We made eye contact through my window. It was weird. My lawyer asked me how that traffic stop went and I explained what I said and how emotional I was at the time. He said that police are used to drivers being upset and it shouldn't affect me at all. But I am very worried!!! Do you think that I did something wrong by having that conversation? I've never been in trouble before and I am so stressed over this whole situation. I'm really, really scared. I know what I did was wrong. I feel so badly about it, and I know it's not about intent, but I hope I left the officer with the impression that I was very sorry for what happened. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    You made a mistake and got a ticket. Try to calm down and let you attorney do what he is getting paid to do. You are in no other trouble than inadvertently passing a stopped school bus. Your preoccupation in this matter will have an affect on your children They can sense it, as you know. Go on in life and leave this behind you. A ticket is a lesson

  3. #3
    tanden5 is offline Junior Member tanden5 is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by icu650 View Post
    You made a mistake and got a ticket. Try to calm down and let you attorney do what he is getting paid to do. You are in no other trouble than inadvertently passing a stopped school bus. Your preoccupation in this matter will have an affect on your children They can sense it, as you know. Go on in life and leave this behind you. A ticket is a lesson
    The police scare me. I don't know what it is, but I have an instant negative reaction to the police. My body shakes and I start to cry. I am law abiding. I'm a mom who loves her kids more than anything. I'm married, and I'm educated. But there is something about an officer in a uniform that makes me weak. I said those things very respectfully to the officer but I regret that I did. I'm human, and I made a mistake but at the same time I'm beating myself up for being so careless about what I did. I hope that the court doesn't throw the book at me. :(

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanden5 View Post
    I hope that the court doesn't throw the book at me. :(
    I can't speak for whomever is the judge to hear your case, but with this being your first traffic offense in 18 years I find it VERY unlikely the outcome will be too severe.


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  5. #5
    tanden5 is offline Junior Member tanden5 is on a distinguished road
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    I hope you are right.

  6. #6
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    I can't be quite so understanding.

    A stopped YELLOW school bus with flashing red lights has a universal meaning. STOP !

    Trying to do the speed limit is of course good. Doing 20 in a 25 is good. But if it is so taxing to do at or under the limit to the point that you pass a school bus....a ticket is what you need.

    This isn't about making a mistake like going out with mismatched socks. You endangered children by being negligent. I have been driving since 1976 and have managed to never pass a bus. Have I gotten a few tickets in my life ? Sure. But any time uses the " nobody is perfect excuse " , my sympathy level drops. Of course nobody is perfect. Thats why tickets are issued. Could the officer have given you a warning ? Yes. Should he have , not in my opinion.

    Driving a car is a chore that requires your undivided attention. Not paying attention while operating heavy machinery ( a car is a piece of heavy machinery , even if it is a Kia) can be serious if not deadly.

    Should some leniency be shown for someone with a clean record ? Sure. Should they simply get off for that ? No. You have been amply rewarded by your insurance company with lower rates and at the same time , you have apparently driven responsibly.

    Tickets are either wake up calls to good drivers or just desserts to those who intentionally do stupid things while driving.

    Either way , you will have learned a lesson.
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  7. #7
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    1st ticket in Virginia won't be so bad. I was an officer there for 5 years.

    But think of it this way. Say it was YOUR kids getting on or off the bus, and somebody went past the bus when it was picking them up or dropping them off. If you saw that, you'd certainly want that person ticketed for endangering your kids. Well, that's what you did to someone else's kids.

    Yes we have discretion, but for something that dangerous, getting a ticket will permanently sear it into your brain, and I bet you never do it again.

    Personally, I'm with the officer in that nobody gets a warning on that offense. Intentional due to impatience, or unintentional due to not paying attention, it puts kids in danger.
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  8. #8
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    Just keep in mind that you are driving around in a 3000-5000 pound chunk of steel that causes substantial damage to a human body when struck. Most of us have seen first hand the horror of such accidents. Traffic statutes like the one you violated were put into place to protect children. If you have a good driving history, I doubt the consequences will be severe. Just be glad you didn't run over a child. I occasionally run into people that are scared of the police for no reason, possibly from what they see in the movies ect. We are not robots, we have families, eat, sleep and put our "hats" on just the same way you do. I actually get slightly offended when people say they are scared of the police for no reason, we also have feelings.....tear drop.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanden5 View Post
    The police scare me. I don't know what it is, but I have an instant negative reaction to the police. My body shakes and I start to cry.
    I am sorry you feel this way. As you are aware, your reaction is not normal. I hate social workers, psychologists, therapists, etc.... and I can't believe I am saying this....but I really think you need to reach out to one to help address it. Nobody should be scared of the police.

    I made a mistake but.....
    I know it was a "mistake" to use your words. But some mistakes have serious consequences. Be thankful you did not hit a child. Be thankful a child was not injured. I am concerned though that you missed a yellow bus...the lights flashing....and the stop sign that pops out flashing you drove by. What if it was a mere red signal at a intersection and your car was blsted by a 18 wheeler going 30 mph? Whatever was going on, and it sounds like you got tunnel vision, you need to break that habit. Easily doable by remebering to "scan" every minute or so. Look in front of you....left mirror....front....rear mirror.....front.....right mirror. Doing such prevents tunnel vision.

    I wouldn't worry about court if you have a lawyer and it is your first offense. They usually get those reduced from a misdemeanor to a lower violation.....just be aware that doing such usually comes at a financial cost ($400+) in fines.
    -In God we trust. All others, put your hands on the car and don't move.

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