Opinion: Championing Road Safety: A Call to Respect Stop Signs and School Buses

Enrique Rodriguez (Submitted photo)

Dear Editor:

Decades ago, Clarence Husband taught me the art of driving in St. Thomas. Compassionate yet unwavering, with a unique humor, he played a pivotal role in many locals obtaining their driving licenses. He particularly emphasized the significance of a complete stop at stop signs, a practice often replaced by the “rolling stop” we frequently observe.

Mr. Husband fervently stressed the importance of obeying traffic signals for the sake of road safety and traffic harmony. Sadly, a concerning trend has emerged in our community: disregarding both stop signs and halting for school buses. Not abiding by these rules is not just an infringement of the law but poses a severe risk for all on the roads.

Many drivers, especially at the Four Corners intersection in St. Thomas, seem to have skipped or forgotten these basic lessons. As I wait with my children for their school bus each morning, it’s become a routine to see vehicles brazenly ignoring stop signs and school buses alike. It’s disheartening to recognize familiar faces among these rule-breakers, repeatedly indulging in this risky behavior. This concern has made me wary, and I ensure my children never wait too close to the road’s edge.

On the occasion the school bus arrives, fellow parents and I band together to shepherd our children safely across. Despite clear stop signals from the bus, some drivers continue, undeterred. Just recently, a driver seemed completely oblivious of his error, clearly not tutored under Mr. Husband’s watchful eyes.

This disregard for essential traffic rules is more than a mere safety issue; it’s about the message it conveys to our youth. Children are observant, and when they see adults flouting such rules, it risks normalizing such behavior. If the next generation believes this is acceptable, we’re setting up a future fraught with road hazards.

This lapse in community etiquette — not stopping for buses and stop signs — paints a picture that laws are flexible, which is an alarming lesson for our youngsters. As these children transition to drivers, there’s a genuine fear they’ll adopt the same reckless habits. It’s incumbent upon adults to model the right behaviors, especially when young eyes are watching. Adhering to traffic rules is more than legality; it’s a lesson in responsibility and safety.

The Virgin Islands Police Department shares these concerns and periodically monitors the Four Corners area. After discussing with Commissioner Gabriel from the Department of Public Works, I’m hopeful about enhanced visual indicators for stop signs in the area. But the real change will come from a combined effort of robust driver education and heightened community awareness.

In summary, respecting road signals, especially stop signs and school bus indicators, is essential for the safety of our community. It’s crucial for the present and vital as a legacy for future generations. Let’s act responsibly and champion safe driving in our community.

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  1. I’d say this is on Law Enforcement. Write tickets, and FILE the tickets. Impose progressively higher fines until the get the message. If that doesn’t work, suspend their license, and if caught again, add some jail time. There have been no consequences for ignoring laws. That needs to change. While you’re at it, enforce handicap parking violations, broken/missing taillights, riding in the back of pickup trucks, and too-dark tinted windows. You can’t tell me Law Enforcement doesn’t see these violations. And it is pointless to write a ticket if you don’t file it with the court.