Bus drivers alarmed at startling rise in illegal bus passes

Local News

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Kanawha County Schools are urging drivers to be cautious after seeing a significant rise in the illegal passing of school buses.

Stopping when that red stop sign sticks out of the side of the school bus should be common sense for drivers. But almost daily, the rules are ignored.

“Stop signs,” sighed Kanawha County Schools driver Tim Sizemore, “More people don’t stop at stop signs and we have to be way more careful with that.”

During the most recent reporting period to federal authorities – there were 30 illegal bus passes in a single day.

Sizemore says just last week, one of his students almost got hit by a careless driver while just trying to cross the street.

“We don’t want to be out here stopping traffic any more than they want us our here stopping traffic. We try not to stop traffic for any longer than we have to within safety reasons, then we move on. We get our job done then we move on.”

While some law enforcement officers are able to patrol school zones – there aren’t as many as bus drivers could hope for. Especially in bus passing hot spots.

One of the problem areas in Kanawha County is on Washington Street East in Charleston. Even though a law enforcement presence would be preferred by school drivers, it’s really up to drivers to follow the rules.

Bus drivers are afraid It will take one careless mistake.

“Once It happens It’s too late to do anything about it and we don’t want to see any kids get hurt,” said Jessica Williams, Kanawha County bus aide.

The district didn’t report any numbers to federal authorities last year because of the COVID disrupted school year. The numbers for 2021 are being sent next week.

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