BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Drivers continue to put Alabama students’ lives in danger by illegally passing stopped school buses, according to law enforcement agencies across central Alabama.
Some departments have taken to social media to remind drivers of the laws and to slow down for school buses.
“It’s not that we just want to go write a bunch of tickets for people, it’s that we want them to stop running the dad gum stop signs,” said Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon.
This week, a parent shared a video and concerns after watching a driver speed pass a stopped school bus near her home in Hayden.
Moon estimates he gets one or two calls each week. He does place marked and unmarked vehicles on patrol to try and deter aggressive driving.
“I’ve even tasked some of my investigators who drive unmarked vehicles to sit and watch hot spots to follow buses so that we can see what is going on. Because like I said, if there is a marked unit close by, people most likely are not going to run the stop sign,” said Moon.
Earlier this month, Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge posted a video of an officer stopping an offender. The department has been writing numerous citations since the start of the school year. Police say it is a problem across central Alabama.
Bus drivers want motorists to consider the precious cargo on board each route.
“We care about them just like our own children and it gets scary and it will keep you up at night sometimes when you have one that is a close call,” said Michael Hart, a driver with the Blount County School District.
Hart watches traffic in all directions while at a stop. He encourages drivers to consider what’s at risk.
“It’s not worth a life to try and save a minute and a half of your day,” said Hart.
Sheriff Moon is also reminding drivers of the laws on roads with two and four lanes.
“Highway 75 is a good example, from just north of Oneonta all the way to the county line, there is a four-lane and in sections of that, there is a turn lane. In that section that there is a turn lane, all four lanes must stop, if the school bus is in the far right line stopped to let children on or off, all four lanes, including that turn lane must stop,” Moon continued. “If there is a median, a wall, a barrier between two north and southbound lanes, at that point the opposite direction lanes don’t have to stop.”
If you do see a driver pass a stopped school bus, you can report an offender’s tag number to law enforcement.