EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSCHOOL BUS SAFETY
from Eyewitness News Online
Police Issue Seven Citations, One Warning In School Bus Safety Crackdown
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 2, 2012 11:48 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Fifty-five percent of bus routes targeted by a weeklong effort to stop motorists who illegally pass school buses ended with multiple violators receiving tickets and fines.
During National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 22-26, West Virginia State Police troopers boarded school buses on select trouble routes in Cabell, Jefferson, Hampshire, Harrison, Kanawha, Marshall, Mercer, Raleigh and Wood counties.
Police issued seven citations and one warning ticket to motorists who ignored the school bus’s flashing red lights and extended stop arm, according to data collected by the West Virginia Department of Education.
Troopers witnessed multiple violations on some routes while others did not see violations.
“We are appreciative of our partnership with the State Police and other organizations to keep our children safe,” state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple said. “We cannot allow motorists to continue to put the lives of our children at risk of injury or death. When motorists fail to obey the law, they endanger the lives of our children, our drivers and themselves.”
The safety sweep, the second in six months, was announced the same day Nicholas County girl suffered a broken leg and foot when she was struck by a motorist after getting off the school bus in Summersville. The 8-year-old, a student at Summersville Elementary, is recovering from her injury, which required surgery.
“This accident illustrates how serious this problem is,” Marple said. “We are fortunate that she was not more seriously injured. Motorists who fail to stop for our buses endanger the lives of our children 90,000 times each year. That is just unacceptable.”
Results of the 2012 National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation survey of county transportation directors found that about 450 motorists illegally passed stopped school buses in one day in West Virginia. In Mercer County, 88 motorists illegally passed school buses the day of the survey. Kanawha was second with 37, while Cabell had 35.
Drivers who fail to stop when a school bus stops and flashes its warning lights can be charged with a felony if their actions result in injury or death and also can lose their license. A driver who causes an injury faces up to three years in prison; a driver who kills someone could be put in prison for up to 10 years. Those who simply fail to stop can be charged with a misdemeanor and jailed up to six months.
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