NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Neshoba County authorities and the school district are cracking down on law breaking drivers they say are passing stopped school buses where students are getting on and off the bus.
“The problem is that it is costing lives. Kids are being struck by vehicles. Obviously, Nathan’s Law kind of hits home. Back in December of 2009, a kid was struck by a motor vehicle while trying to load or unload a vehicle,” said Neshoba County School Resource Officer Lindsey Kidd.
Nathan’s Law went into effect in 2011, in honor of Mississippi 5-year-old Nathan Key, who was struck and killed when a vehicle illegally passed his school bus.
By law, drivers are required to stop at least 10 feet behind a school bus loading and unloading students. Any driver who breaks this law is subject to fines and even jail time.
Kidd said drivers breaking Nathan’s Law is something he has seen way too much of across the state and in the county.
“I’ve seen drivers, motorists, and passing school buses on the side of the shoulder, on the side of the road and in other lanes, passing buses while the stop sign is out. We have cameras on the buses and we have some drivers that take pictures of the tags of drivers that are passing while they’re loading and unloading kids,” said Kidd.
Kidd said he has already stopped several drivers for passing school buses this school year.
“I really want to push this right here, because it’s against the law, first of all, and it’s dangerous. We shouldn’t be passing school buses and we will do an investigation on those drivers that are passing school buses,” said Kidd.
Kidd said students are also taught to check their surroundings and look both ways before exiting the school bus.
Nathan’s Law also requires drivers to not proceed until all children have crossed the street to or from the school bus and the flashing red lights are no longer activated and the stop sign on the side of the bus is retracted.