Drive Like a Reasonable Person

In the Indianapolis Star, Monday December 14, 2009, a story describes the charges brought against a school bus driver who, allegedly, did not extend the stop sign on the bus when dropping off a child. The bus driver is facing potential jail time for her actions. The school bus is the most iconic transport for our children. It is equipped with stop signs to make the travels of the children, to and from the bus as safe as possible. The bus stops at all railroad crossings and has extended mirrors for safety. Those who refuse to stop for the bus stop sign or proceed with caution when a bus begins to slow or accelerate are not acting reasonably. A reasonable person knows that children do not always use good sense and do things which will put them in danger. Therefore, the reasonable person moves more slowly and cautiously around a school bus.

The reasonable person also behaves the same way when driving in a residential neighborhood or near a school. Children live and play in these areas. Children will do silly things, like run into a street without looking. We see all the time the “Kids Dart” signs. The reasonable person will treat a child like a stop sign, i.e. when there is a child, or children, present the reasonable person will be able to come to a complete stop in an instant to save the child. I tell my driving children that it makes no matter who’s fault the collision might be, if you strike and injure or kill a child, you will be haunted by it for the rest of your life. Getting to practice or the game or the party five minutes later is a small price to pay to live without that weight on your conscience.

The reasonable person is also always scanning for kids in the residential neighborhood. Kids are small and can be blocked by a car or a tree or other things. If there are children present, the reasonable person knows they can run into the street, and drives more carefully because of that knowledge. The reasonable driver knows that children sometimes sled down hills that lead into the street and that such a child will not be able to stop. The reasonable driver drivers more cautiously in residential neighborhoods because of this knowledge.

We all must live together. We must use caution to protect the lives of the precious children who cannot protect themselves. The reasonable driver does this by driving at reduced speeds in residential neighborhoods, and evermore cautiously when children are present.

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