WINFIELD, W.Va. (WOWK) – Students across our area are either already back in school or headed back to school soon. Many of them are getting to school by riding a school bus. But the actions of other drivers out on the roads often put those children at risk.
According to the American School Bus Council an estimated 10 million drivers illegally pass school buses every year.
“Everyone has to stop,” said Transportation Director or Putnam County Schools Pat Clark. “The first thing you’ll see are going to be the yellow lights which means please stop.” By the time you see the red lights and the stop sign, you should be fully stopped a safe distance from the bus. If you do not stop cameras located around the bus will be recording the incident and your license plate number
“Once we get their license plate we turn it over to authorities and they take it from there,” Clark said. According to the American School Bus Council, an estimated 2/3 of school bus loading and unloading fatalities are caused by passing vehicles.
“Remember that you are sharing the road now with our eager and excited children,” cautioned Micah Osborne, Communications and Events Coordinator for Putnam County Schools.
She said parents can also help by being proactive and talking to their students about safety around the bus stop.
“Their bus drivers will prepare them with rules and bus safety tips but something that parents could talk to their students about would be proper etiquette at the bus stop and to be aware of their surroundings.” She said it is also a good idea to encourage children to turn down their music and take out the earbuds so that they can hear what is going on around them.
The West Virginia Legislature recently took action doubling the penalties for motorists who illegally pass a school bus. If you are uncertain what the laws are in your state click or tap here.