NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – Jaime Stokes of Niles gets her daughter on and off the school bus every day at the corner of Robbins Avenue and Carnegie Avenue and every day she fears that something terrible might happen.
‘People are not physically paying attention and stopping for the school buses, and completely driving straight through,” Stokes said.
In fact, Niles police said Stokes is not the only person to complain. Several parents and school bus drivers are worried about their safety.
“We are watching and we are issuing citations if you are going to violate it,” Niles police officer Shawn Crank said.
So far, Niles police have cited seven drivers since they began cracking down. Bus drivers also are taking down license plates of cars who pass the school bus.
By law, they can file traffic complaints and have police issue the citations. Fines can be as high as $500.
Police said the majority of complaints come from the area of Robbins Avenue and Main Street, where there is two lanes plus a left turning lane.
Officers said the problem has a lot to do with people not knowing what the rules of the road are when it comes to stopped school buses.
“Unless the roadway is divided into four or more lanes, the approaching traffic as well as the traffic from behind the bus is required to stop in both directions,” Crank said.
He said not following the bus passing laws can be dangerous, especially when it comes to younger children.
“They make rash decisions. They make sudden movements. They don’t realize how dangerous it is to step in front of a moving car. So they think and move and hear differently than adults do, so it’s very important to stop around the buses,” Crank said.
Police believe in some cases, texting and other distractions are the reason for cars going around the bus. Stokes said she is glad the city is targeting these drivers before someone gets hurt.
“Any of them children could still get hurt if something were to happen and there was an accident. It don’t matter. Any kid could get hurt,” Stokes said.