Subscribe:   RSS icon   twitter icon

Two Letters of the Law

Like most places outside of New York City, Virginia has a law requiring drivers to stop for a school bus picking up or discharging students. Here is Virginia’s law, unchanged since 1970:

‘A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children.’

Don’t feel bad if you failed to notice a critical missing word (it should say ‘at any school bus’). Neither did the presumably hundreds of people convicted of passing a school bus in the past 40 years, and their attorneys, until a sharp-eyed lawyer got his client acquitted recently in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

This was an appeal to the circuit court; the original trial judge in District Court said that she ‘wasn’t buying it.’

The issue is so vital to public safety the the Virginia state legislators will look into it real soon — some time in January, after their vacation.

I advise my fellow Virginians to resist whizzing past the yellow kidmobiles, however. Not only would that be reckless, but the State has a few arguments up its sleeve that might work in court next time. For example, according to a U.S. Supreme Court case from 1892, ‘If a literal construction of the words of a statute be absurd, the act must be so construed as to avoid the absurdity.’

Update, April, 2011: The legislative glitch has been repaired.

Share with Facebook Share with Twitter Share with Reddit Share with StumbleUpon Share with Digg Share with Slashdot
▶ Comment is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Quotilizer ... loading ...

Tenuously related:

The best tool for CVs with publication lists.