2nd UPDATE: Spoke to the police station, I need Support Big Time- The Bus Driver photographed my plate after WAVING me past
Ok, so first off I've been driving 25 years, no tickets, no accidents. I have 3 kids (two who ride special needs buses). Very often the bus drivers wave people past before putting out their stop signs.
So, I was driving with DD, and there was a bus, I was I would say slightly (maybe 4 feet) behind it in the next lane. The lane it was in is just a pull off lane, where it opens up and runs maybe 25 feet. For buses and things so traffic doesn't get jammed.
I SLOWED down, to almost a full stop. The bus driver didn't put out her stop sign, then reached out and waved her hand. Like I said before this happens all the time, if there are only 2 or 3 cars they will wave you past. I went by along with 2 cars BEHIND me. As I past I saw her put out the stop sign at the last moment as my van passed.
I happened to stop at the next light. She pulled up behind me and photographed my plates, Ok. Then pulled up next to me she was laughing waving her phone (which in our district they aren't allowed to even carry while physically driving, I recall that rule passing). She YELLED out her window, "I have your plate, your so stupid" She was making childish motions, she stopped at a green light while I was in the turn lane. She took my picture, so I picked up my phone took hers. Which is when she screamed at me and left.
I came home and calmly called the bus garage. Like I SAID SHE WAVED me past. There were cars behind me that went by even. This is what the call with the garage was like-
Me- A bus driver took a photo of my vans plates after waving me past, she didn't open her stop sign till I was basically past her whole bus. In fact... I slowed way down, ready to stop for the stop sign and she didn't put it out. I thought she was being nice like I've seen numerous other drivers do.
Garage- Well miss, the State recently passed a statute to allow for Bus Drivers to photograph Plates and drivers then turn them into the Police. We have several drivers who have become... Over Zealous in the matter.
Me- I actually feel she was and please don't take this wrong.... setting me up, she waved us on and the cars behind me as well. I have children who ride buses everyday and They stop then wait till cars have passed all the time. I assumed it was the same thing.
Garage- As I said Unfortunately several drivers have become Over Zealous in the matter.
Me- She was laughing waving her phone, like she had won some great prize. I would like to know how I file a formal complaint.
Garage- The problem is that we don't handle the photos, the drivers hand them directly to the local police department, then they decide what to do. You will probably receive a ticket, and I am so sorry if you do. Like in any matter we have to figure out who the bad apples are before we can do anything.
Me- So, you are telling me that you have bus drivers basically setting up drivers? To try to give them tickets? I've been driving almost 25 years and never had a single ticket.
Garage- Like I said we have drivers who are very excited and over zealous in the matter. We are still trying to teach our drivers proper etiquette, and trying to figure out the bad apples. This is a recent change.
Me- So basically I'm just that's it. I have no rights in the matter.
Garage- You can try fighting it in court, but from recent tickets that have been fought the local magistrate doesn't listen to them. Chances are if the other cars had stopped she would've taken there photos also. It is a problem we are having, some drivers are turning in 50 photos a week, by the law gives them alot of leed way in the matter.
So basically, I was tricked by a bus driver who thinks this is a fun game. I was basically told by the garage that this occurs, and that they have no way of stopping it. Nor can I fight it, when I did nothing wrong. We have buses, stopped on the side of the road often, they are trying to figure out where they need to go or whatever. I'm all for this when a car actually runs a buses stop sign, but I didn't. AND she waved me on. I asked my sons bus driver when he got home, and he told me this is really common. He would never do it unless it was super blantent. But that they had never even been told at what point a car should stop when the sign goes out. The rule is sign, then wait, then let kids off. Most the time he felt 3 or 4 car lengths behind/beside him should at least be given.
So I called the local police department, and was told in no uncertain terms a $1000 ticket give or take,5 or 6 points, and possibly more are on the way when she files her report. That I have no actual argument in the matter. I asked them why a bus driver should automatically be trusted and was told "They are a civil servent and school employee". I told the officer I was in my husbands van, and was told because I was driving it will come up when they run the plate I am his wife. They will then issue the ticket in my name. I can't believe this is happening, I've even threw up over the matter and am near a panic attack. I did nothing wrong, nothing at all and I have no power to change it. The officer told me they take running a bus very seriously. That's great, but I didn't. I told him she let me go, and his response was "The judge will say you shouldn't have gone, even if you've seen your childrens bus drivers do it. No matter what she did, you just shouldn't have." I asked when they expect me to be able to stop and was told it was an expection of the bus driver, in other words if she feels I should've been able to stop then I should've. What kills me, is that I only went because she was allowing me. I was basically stopped, and would've finished stopping. I hate this, to top it off this is killing my anxiety problems. I don't get why she should be allowed to do this? I was told that due to recent issues of people going around buses, but I didn't go around. I asked if I could request the bus camera be brought in and was told that our distict only has them inside the bus for students.
So there is nothing I can do, I don't have the money to pay this ticket if and when it comes. I keep reading online about drivers not actually taking it in or departments ignoring it. However, around here our city is desperate for money, I live in the Speed Trap Capital of the world (yet never have recieved a ticket). I was basically crying after the officer told me I could do nothing, I can fight it but that this is a big deal. I didn't do it, and just feel like crap now because of this. The officer told me chances were if the bus driver was so excited about it, she will file it, and they will issue a ticket.
UPDATE: Well it's been 2 weeks and no ticket. I called the police department and was told they are swamped wiht Holiday issues. So fingers crossed the lady was just being a bitch. But then again, who knows.... I did speak to a lawyer who told me I wasn't the first he had heard of this happening too in our area. However, with the city needing money and the bus system being privitized anything could happen. He then called the district including the super, and was basically told that because the garage is privatized there isn't anything they can really do. They can make suggestions and complain but that is all. The news stations all said the problem with the story is the fact that its not on video. They have had complaints about bus drivers in my district texting, and having phones in their hands looking at the internet/ even being on them and if its not on video then from their experience people tend to side with sad looking bus drivers claiming they did nothing wrong and somebody is out to get them.