Kanawha County stepping up school bus safety and patrolling

Local News

CROSS LANES, WV (WOWK) – Some counties in the Mountain State head back to school starting next week, so local law enforcement is stepping up to make sure children are kept safe.

The Kanawha County Sheriffs Office and Ambulance Authority will have patrol cars at schools throughout the county to alert drivers that class is back in session.

“Everyone is not use to kids being out here now because they have been off for a few months. We want to do everything we can to make sure they are safe and secure,” said Kanawha County Sherrif Mike Rutherford.

On average in Kanawha County, busses see about 40 to 50 illegal passes every single day. So, red flashing lights are used to alert drivers.

“Those are interactive with the kids. If they get off the bus and there is a car that is going to run their lights, it will say danger step back,” said Brett Farley, the Executive Director of Transportation in Kanawha County.

The extended predictive stop arm is just one of the new features this year. All county busses are equipped with new GPS systems and up to 12 video cameras, which can identify those who illegally pass a bus.

“It’s a 500 dollar fine first offense plus court costs so it’s a steep fine. But the goal is to make sure people don’t run over children,” said Keith Vititoe, the Executive Director of Security for Kanawha County Schools.

So the county’s message to everyone this coming week:

“Please do not pass a school bus. Please don’t speed in a school zone – these are kids,” said Dr. Tom Williams, the Superintendent for Kanawha County Schools.

Classes in Kanawha County begin Monday August 9.

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