Educating Drivers through National School Bus Safety Week

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Do you see drivers driver through the stop sign?
Does it ever make you a little worried for your safety?
"Sometimes." says Edison 7th grader Austin Hall.

A scary truth for students riding buses these days. National School Bus Safety Week shines light on a big problem facing bus drivers and students.

"We thought it'd be a good idea and help protect the children as they get off the buses and control the flow of traffic and make it safer for everybody," says Trooper C.J. Weekley.

State troopers rode along to ensure safe passage for students, but they can't be there every day. The brunt of that responsibility falls on the bus driver.

"As a bus driver you just have a responsibility from the time the students get on your bus to when they get off. You watch out for their safety getting on and off the bus and while they're on the bus and almost daily or at least every week you're concerned about the safety as they cross the road getting on and off the bus because often they (drivers) don't stop at the stop sign when I put it out," says bus operator David Carpenter.

"Probably cause they're not paying attention or they're texting," says Hall.

How often does it happen?

"Three or four times a week," he says.

When kids get on and off the bus traffic is supposed to come to a stop, but that's often not the case. The law applies to all lanes of traffic unless there's a median. Bus drivers and students say they see drivers fly past the stop sign several times a week. It puts students' safety in jeopardy as they cross the street.

"Anytime you see that stop sign you need to use caution. Stop. Wait until the student is either picked up or dropped off and then you can continue on after the bus continues on itself. It's just so important because that one time could cost someone serious injury or even a life," says Wood County Schools Director of Transportation Richard Lance.

"It happens every year somewhere. Students get hit crossing the road. Somebody's not paying attention and you don't want it to be your students. I mean you take it personally and when they're on your bus you take the responsibility for them," says Carpenter.

A big responsibility to protect our smallest commuters.

State police say they'll be monitoring problem areas in the weeks to come in an effort to crack down on drivers running these stop signs. Volators could face hefty fines and a suspended license.