Have you ever been in traffic and blown past one a flashing school bus stop sign, thinking you’ve gotten off scot free? Well, you may not have. You’re actually being watched, and the problem has prompted bus drivers in Henrico County to take action.
“That’s a major problem. Matter of fact, it happens just about once or twice every week,” Henrico County bus driver Dwayne Gardner said of the growing number of violators he encounters while transporting kids to school. “I have a pick up on Mechanicsville and Coalter, and I had three vehicles pass me just this morning.”
“It’s getting worse and worse. Everywhere you go, people, they pass you left and right, so we’ve got to do something.”
Not only is it against the law to pass a school bus stop sign, it also put kids in danger.
To combat the problem, Henrico County Public Schools is asking school bus drivers to keep an eye out.
“We’ve asked them to take note of anytime they observe a vehicle pass a stopped school bus,” Henrico County Schools spokesperson Andy Jenks said. “As most people know, if the bus is stopped and the stop sign is out and the lights are flashing, they are most certainly at a bus stop with students getting on or off. So, it’s important, and it’s the law that other vehicles stop when that’s occurring.
“So we’ve asked our bus drivers to take note; if they do not see that happening and after about four or five days, we’ll have some data that we can look at and try to determine where some hot spots might be or to the extent that there may or may not be a problem.”
Bus drivers have been given forms to fill out, recording every time a driver breaks the law.
“Eight cars passed me last week while I was activating my sign,” said driver Sam Hatoum, who has been driving school buses in the county for six years. “It’s getting worse and worse. Everywhere you go, people, they pass you left and right, so we’ve got to do something.”
Meanwhile, Gardner wants to take things a step further with exterior cameras.
If you do get caught passing a stopped school bus, you’ll be slapped with a reckless driving charge, get fined up to $2,500, and possibly even face jail time.
Gardner says at the end of the day, it all boils down to safety.
“I would just advise people to stop when you see these red signs out and think in terms of it being your kid crossing the street at that time,” he said.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.