‘It is the law to stop for the school buses’: Concerns raised about school bus safety

Local News

While kids are excited to go back to school, it’s also that time of year for some concern.

“The beginning of the school year is always the worst. It’s typically everyone going through and they don’t see the buses and they don’t see the kids,” Harlow’s Transportation Manager Cody Aksamit said.

When the stop sign rolls out on a school bus, drivers on both sides of traffic are supposed to stop their vehicles.

“It is the law to stop for the school buses and the reason that being is because they’re unloading or loading children onto the school bus,” Aksamit said.

Aksamit said most drivers are distracted by their phones while driving and don’t think twice before passing a loading school bus.

“It actually happened to me this morning when I was out on route, the lady was actually cutting in front of the bus and coming around,” Mandan Police Department Resource Officer Jessica Kraft said.

Aksamit said bus drivers will try to write down the license plate number and then hand it over to law enforcement.

“It’s all ages. I have pulled over grandparents with their grandkids who had been passing the bus. I just the other day talked to someone in their 20s, she said she didn’t realize,” Officer Kraft said.

Aksamit wants to make sure people know what the rules are so he doesn’t have to witness another fatal catastrophe.

“It was a younger student who was running quickly to go across the road because most of them do. The driver stuck most of their body out their window to get the attention of the other vehicle, by the time he got the driver’s attention the driver had made contact with the student,” Aksamit said.

Akszmit says Harlow’s employees have reported at least 14 violations so far.

“Get off your phones, that’s the biggest thing,” Aksamit said.

If caught passing a school bus, drivers could be fined $200 and have 6 points added to their license.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2010 to 2019, more school-age pedestrians were killed between 3 to 3:59 p.m. and from 7 to 7:59 a.m.

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