Drivers Often Ignore 'Stop' Sign

It's estimated that more than half of the nation's school children ride the school bus every day. The American Bus Council says it's the safest mode of transportation. And local officials say more often than not, it's other motorists who pose the biggest safety threat to students who ride the bus.

"The most dangerous times are when students are getting on a school bus and when they're getting off a school bus," said Jason Chisolm, Meridian Public Schools transportation director.

"The motorists tend to sometimes ignore the school buses, and one thing they shouldn't do is ignore the school buses," said Roger Wright, Lauderdale County Schools transportation director.

Wright and Chisolm both agree that this is especially true when the yellow lights on the bus are flashing.

"If the lights are flashing, that bus is about to stop," Wright said.

"Sometimes there are mailboxes or garbage cans and things around the house, and if somebody was trying to run the stop sign and their view was blocked of that kid, and he steps out, of course, they have a situation," Chisolm said.

In Mississippi if a student lives within one mile of his or her school, the parents are responsible for getting the child to school. That means students are also walking and crossing streets on foot, as well as crossing to board buses.

"No matter what you're late for, it's not worth risking somebody's life."

Under Nathan's Law in Mississippi, fines for passing a stopped school bus while children are present can reach up to $5,000. This violation may also lead to suspension of the driver's license and up to one year in jail.


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