Aspinwall police cracking down on motorists near bus stops - FoxChapel

Aspinwall police cracking down on motorists near bus stops

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 | 12:07 PM

Warnings are a thing of the past for motorists in Aspinwall who fly through stop signs or past school buses.

Now, there will be an automatic 60-day driving suspension and up to a $350 fine and court cost.

Police Chief Dave Nemec said the start of the school year has brought about a renewed effort to stop violators and keep pedestrians, particularly students at school bus stops, safe.

“We’re not going to tolerate it,” Nemec said. “There won’t be any warnings. We’ve been lenient long enough.”

There are more than 10 bus stops established by the Fox Chapel Area School District scattered along the tree-lined streets of the borough, and Nemec said there are many more private stops as well.

In the three weeks since school returned to session, the borough has received complaints about motorists disobeying bus laws “in larger than usual numbers,” Manager Melissa Lang said.

Nemec and Mayor Joe Noro are spearheading “Operation Pull Over” through which officers — and residents — will be diligent in cracking down on violators.

Top priority is stopping aggressive and reckless drivers, Nemec said.

Anyone interested in helping keep the streets safe by monitoring bus stops is asked to contact the borough at 412-781-3568.

With only one or two officers on shift, Nemec said it’s impossible for police to cover each corner.

“We can’t do it ourselves,” he said. “We’d love to but we don’t have the manpower.”

Nemec said officers rotate patrols and attempt to make a presence through town, but a league of volunteers would help significantly.

State law requires motorists to stop in either direction if bus lights are flashing and children are loading or unloading. Motorists are also recommended to leave ample room around a bus for children to walk safely. Violators face a 60-day driver’s license suspension, five points on their record and up to $350 in fines and court costs.

Nemec has been on the force 21 years in the borough and can’t recall any incidents of children being harmed by careless drivers near bus stops — and he’d like to keep it that way.

“I don’t want to have tell anyone their child has been hurt,” he said. “We need everyone to be on board and if not, we can’t let them go.”