Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
As I started driving away from home this morning I saw flickering yellow lights of a school bus as it was driving towards me. I pushed my brakes and came to a screeching halt before its lights turned red and the stop sign was pulled out.
I had stopped almost 50-70 feet before the bus. I started thinking as the children started getting in the bus. I thought why did I do this? I realized that it was the good aspects of the American law in action. What an expression of human dignity, sacredness of human life and emphasis on human rights.
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1174(b) establishes the requirements for school bus drivers. School bus drivers must instruct passengers to cross the road in front of the bus if the passengers have to go across the road. The bus driver must keep the bus stopped and must keep red light signals flashing until the passengers have gone across the road and are at least 15 feet from the bus. Drivers should also wait to stop the flashing of the red lights until the passengers are off the highway, street or private road.
The penalties associated with a failure to stop for a school bus can be substantial. As New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1174(c) explains, anyone who is convicted of a violation of the laws requiring motorists to stop for school buses could be fined.
The fine for a fist conviction is a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $400. If a second violation is committed within a three year period, the motorist who failed to stop for the bus the second time could face a minimum fine of $600 and a maximum fine of $750. If a third violation happens within a three year period, the minimum fine imposed is $750 and the maximum fine is $1,000.
These substantial fines are not even the most severe consequence of failing to stop for a school bus. For a first offense, the motorist could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days imprisonment. For a second offense within a three year period of time, the maximum period of imprisonment jumps up to 180 days. If a motorist commits a third offense of failing to stop for a school bus, the maximum imprisonment period is also 180 days. For any offense under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1174, the law makes clear that a motorist could be both fined and imprisoned.
I reminisced that I had to stop no matter the religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation of the young children embarking the bus. Every human life is precious and sacred and every human has rights.
If each country, each religion, each sect, each organization starts their journey first defining the human rights and human dignity, rather than their dogma or social and political agenda, there will be peace, harmony, love and coexistence in the world.
I am suggesting that we should prioritize the understanding of human rights rather than constant sentimentalizing, sensationalizing and essentializing of our dogma where we differ from other groups.
So many disputes, conflicts and wars will come to a screeching halt like my car had this morning if we put humanity first and define and polish our understanding of human rights rather than leave it to chance.
Suggested Reading for understanding of human compassion
PM New Zealand: ‘The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy are just like one body’
— TheMuslimTimes (@TheMuslimTimes2) July 17, 2017