It’s one of the first things you learn in driver’s ed – if a school bus is stopped and its lights are flashing, treat it like a red light. But Ken Cagle says a lot of drivers seem to be ignoring that.
“We’re trying to let people know you gotta stop, it’s very dangerous," Cagle says. “Children get killed this way.”
Cagle, the 9-1-1 supervisor for Rains County, says the Sheriff’s Office lately has been getting two or three calls a week about drivers whizzing past stopped – and flashing – school buses. That’s a lot, given that those calls used to be rare.
And with only a few officers in the department and a lot of long stretches of fast country road, Cagle says Rains County needs the public’s help trying to keep school kids safe.
“To get it stopped, we have to start writing tickets,” he says. That requires input from the public, who need to get a license plate number and the type of vehicle, and then call the Sheriff’s Office to let them do their job.
One thing not to do is try to confront a driver who passes a bus.
“Don’t try to confront the person,” he says. “Don’t honk your horns, flash your lights, don’t do anything like that.”
An eyewitness report from a concerned citizen can lead to a $500 fine for a driver who passes a flashing school bus. And that’s just for a first offense. Those tickets only get more expensive the more of them you collect.