DPS Cracking Down on Drivers Violating School Bus Safety Laws

5 years 3 months 2 weeks ago Monday, October 16 2017 Oct 16, 2017 October 16, 2017 5:41 PM October 16, 2017 in News

WESLACO – Drivers might find state troopers in an odd place on the school bus this National School Bus Safety Week.

For the next week, Department of Public Safety troopers will be on the lookout for people who ignore those laws. 

"Sometimes when the bus stops here the cars just pass by. It doesn't even stop but thank goodness they stop right here and he doesn't go to the other side," said Araceli Manriquez who lives on a busy road.

She said her neighbor was hit by a car while riding his bike not too far from her house a couple of weeks ago. 

"He's not okay he opened his head and the girl just left so," Manriquez recalled.

She said this worries her when it comes to her son loading and unloading the school bus. 

A new state law, effective Sept. 1, increased fines for violators of the law hoping to crack down on the number of drivers who ignore the stop signals. 

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to DPS Lt. Johnny Hernandez about bus safety when it comes to other drivers. 

"We're having state troopers riding on the bus and we have other troopers following closely with the bus,” he said. “We're looking for violators who violate the school bus transportation code and what we're looking for is people who are not stopping."

Hernandez said this law is needed. Just last year, troopers issued 1,100 tickets and nearly 600 warnings for drivers who passed a stopped school bus while loading or unloading students.

He said the most recent accidents also happened within the past weeks.

"We've had several accidents already these past weeks where school buses are stopping and the motorist are not – either because they're distracted driving or they're not paying attention – and they get rear-ended, the school bus gets rear-ended."

These minor accidents are following the death of Brenda Cuellar who was struck by a vehicle just shortly after exiting a bus near her home in 2014.

Hernandez attributes distracted driving to these accidents. He said this is why it's important to be vigilant and slow down around school buses. 

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