Cracking Down on School Bus Safety

Newschannel 6 went undercover with law enforcement Wednesday, and found out Texoma's rural areas are having the most trouble when it comes to drivers breaking the law regarding school buses.

It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped when it has its flashing red lights on, in either direction.

Iowa Park Consolidated Independent School District reports violators, daily. They want to put a stop to all reckless drivers. Newschannel 6 crews went undercover with troopers to catch them in the act.

Ned Miller, Transportation Manager of Iowa Park CISD, says, "We haven't had a student hit, but we have had plenty of close calls just in the 5 years that I've been here."

Every morning, as the buses return from their routes, Ned Miller hopes for good news. Impatient drivers on Old Iowa Park Road or F.M. 369 tend to illegally pass stopped school buses.

Bus driver Dale Glebe says it is always his biggest worry. "It is not worth saving 30 seconds when you're risking a child's life. It is really what it comes down to with us, it's safety. When they are going through those lights if somebody had been coming from the other side of the road, a driver never would of see the child, it's dark and they are little. I'm always worried that someone is going to get run over. It's my biggest worry."

DPS Sergeant Toby Catlin is putting a stop to violators one ticket at a time. A driver Sergeant Catlin pulled over, with Newchannel 6 in the car, said he was eating while driving.

This is an issue bus driver Glebe sees much to often. Glebe comments, "When you look at them as they go past you and they are distracted they are either eating , on the phones, testing, or talking to someone else. They are distracted when they pass us."

Sergeant Catlin says DPS has received numerous complaints from Iowa Park CISD about the issue and that is why they chose to target the area. He hopes his efforts will put a stop to any drivers breaking the law and ensure the safety of every child riding on a school bus.   

Sergeant Catlin comments, "It's all about the safety of the kids. We want to make sure they get on the bus safe, they get to school safely, and they get home safely. I think it gets people's attention that they need to pay attention and watch for the school buses out there."

DPS Sergeant Catlin tells Newschannel 6 the law states, if there is a center median dividing the road or highway, like HWY 287, then drivers only have to stop on the side that the school bus is on. Roads that are not divided with a center median, drivers on both sides are required to stop until the school buses flashing lights and stop sign are turned off.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6