Drivers reminded this week about school bus safety

DES MOINES — It’s “National School Bus Safety Week,” and despite reminders every year, there are still drivers who pass buses that have their lights flashing and stop arms out.

State Trooper Paul Gardner says many of the school bus problems are caused by poor driving habits. “We’ve seen it, like said too many times where people are distracted. They are maybe speeding, they’re not paying attention to their surroundings, and all of a sudden the bus is stopped and that could put children at danger,” he says.

Trooper Gardner says bus safety is simple. “We just want people to realize how important it is that they stop and just watch for the school buses,” Gardner says.

He says more and more districts are using cameras that catch violators. “So they’ll capture a license plate and so with that still photo that and maybe even a video will accompany the bus driver report and then we follow through with a traffic ticket,” Gardner says. If we can’t locate the driver in that the registered owner gets the ticket.”

The minimum fine for a first offense is $345 and Trooper Gardner says that can go up to $675 and a person could lose their license with more violations. Gardner says the week includes public reminders and emergency drills with students to ensure they are prepared in case of an emergency situation.