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School bus company First Student urging drivers to avoid to stop arm violations

Posted at 11:30 AM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 12:30:25-05

Students are 70 times safer on a school bus than they are in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

But, school bus drivers we spoke to in Council Bluffs say drivers jeopardize kid's safety every day if they don't stop when stop arms are released. 

"When they see the reds they need to stop on either direction until the lights deactivate, which means it's ok for them to go," First Student Manager Lisa Faust said. 

Faust says she hears about stop arm violations from her drivers all the time. 

"What happens is cars get impatient and they blow right around them or cross going the other direction," she said. 

Faust wants drivers to know, you risk a lot when you keep going. 

"As you're going around the bus you could hit an oncoming car that you can't necessarily see around the bus," she said. "If you ram into it, you know, [and] the kids are standing up and they're getting prepared to move, it's really dangerous."

Bus Safety Trainer Eric Chamberlain says drivers should be extra cautious, because kids aren't always paying attention. 

"We rely on the adults that are behind the wheel to basically do their part to make sure that it's safe for them to get off," Chamberlain said. 

Here's a rules refresher:

If a bus has flashing yellow lights, you need to slow down. That bus is getting ready to stop. When the red flashing lights are on (even if the stop arm isn't out yet) you need to be stopped, behind the bus. 

"I've had drivers actually stop right next to the bus and the kid actually has to walk behind the vehicle to get to where they need to be," Chamberlain said. 

"I always look at school buses as what if it's my kid," Faust said. "People really need to keep that in mind, because it's somebody's child."

In Council Bluffs, drivers could face up to a $675 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail for a stop arm violation.