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Ask the Cop: Prescription Collections, School Buses

Leesburg's Master Police Officer Christopher Tidmore elaborates on a question that was asked by a Patch reader last week.

*This article has been updated. See response to second question.

Have you ever had a question for a police officer but never had the opportunity to ask one? Well, here is your chance. 

"Ask the Cop" is a partnership with the Leesburg Police Department. Every week we will submit your questions to Master Police Officer Christopher Tidmore and the police department will answer them to the best of his ability. Below is one of the questions we received:

Q: When is the next prescription collection and until then where can I go to get rid of expired, unused prescriptions?

- John Mileo

A: The Drug Enforcement Administration is the federal agency who runs the program in partnership with local law enforcement agencies. The Leesburg Police Department has hosted drug take back locations in the past. We have not officially announced the next date BUT the DEA has set the next drug take back event date for September 29, 2012. Watch for more information from local law enforcement agencies to see who will be participating.

Q: If a school bus stops on a divided road; however they stop at a break in the division (think a four way intersection), is a driver required to stop if the driver is on the opposite side of the road or do they need to stop since the road is technically undivided at that specific location?  I've noticed other bus drivers both stop AND continue so I'm totally confused. 

– Jessica

and

On a divided roadway where there is a grassy median that breaks at cross streets, are drivers supposed to stop when they see school buses loading/unloading passengers on the other side of the road?  Example: driver traveling eastbound on Battlefield Pky NE sees bus approaching, traveling westbound on Battlefield Pky NE, across the grassy median stopping  for passengers at the intersection of Fieldstone Dr NE and Battlefield Pky NE.

-Concerned-Mom-In-Exeter

A: Drivers must stop for a school bus that has activated its red lights and warning devices while loading and unloading. When this happens on a divided highway, regardless if the bus is stopped at a break in the median or in the intersection, drivers do not stop.  Below is the state code that covers “passing a stopped school bus. (Excerpt  from the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System web site).

46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.

A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle 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, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving. The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words "School Bus" in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices shall be identified as school buses.

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Do you have a question for Officer Tidmore? Please send it to leah.kosin@patch.com or post a question below this article. The next column is scheduled to post two weeks from today. The deadline to submit your questions is Friday, June 8 by noon.

About this column: "Ask the Cop" is a partnership with the Leesburg Police Department. Every week we will submit your questions to Master Police Officer Christopher Tidmore and members of the police department will answer them.

Eliana July 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM
What a great service this is! Thank you for offering it. My question: Do drivers need to lower their high beams for approaching vehicles, when they are driving on a rural, 4-lane highway with 2 lanes in each direction separated by a grassy median? (I am thinking specifically of Route 7 out west towards Purcellville. It is rural, and dark, out there at night, and there are many deer and other animals that run into the road. I keep my high beams on, but am sometimes flashed at by approaching vehicles, across the wide grassy medians. My understanding has always been that the "dim the highs" didn't apply for medians - have i been wrong all these years?)
Eliana July 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM
One more question - as a follow-up to the prescription-collection information above: I thought that pharmacies will accept old/unused medications. Is this not the case? Thank you!
Chris Sanner July 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I...disagree with that reading. From office Chris: "When this happens on a divided highway, regardless if the bus is stopped at a break in the median or in the intersection, drives must stop." From the statute: "The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway [...] when the other roadway [...] is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. " The original question was: "On a divided roadway where there is a grassy median that breaks at cross streets" To me, this reads as though a stop is unnecessary on the opposite side. Can you cite cases where this has been examined?
Chris B July 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM
The officer states that you must stop, even on a divided highway, but the referenced statute clearly says the opposite: "...The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway,..." I guess this is why some people stop and some don't...
Angelina July 19, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I have a question How Do You Know When Something Bad Is Happing"?
Leah M. Kosin (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Thanks for your question, Eliana. I'll submit it but my guess is that you SHOULD lower them to oncoming traffic no matter what kind of road you are on. One you pass the vehicle you can once again put them on. At least that's what I've been told.
Leah M. Kosin (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I believe some pharmacies do. You would have to call your local drugstore to find out if they offer that service.
Leah M. Kosin (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Chris, I was wondering the same thing. I've always been taught that if there is a divider in the road (a grassy median for example) that you do NOT have to stop. I will ask for clarification.
Leah M. Kosin (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 04:47 PM
An update has been made to this article regarding Officer Tidmore's response to the second question.
Chris Sanner July 20, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Whew...glad I was reading that right. I would've hated to find out I was doing the wrong thing all these years...

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