WHITESBORO, TX - More than 30,000 school buses are on Texas roads every day, twice a day. But drivers don't always obey the law when it comes to the big yellow buses, and this week troopers will be looking for them.
Whitesboro ISD runs 11 school buses in the morning and afternoon. They set up the routes so kids don't have to cross the street, but transportation director Mike Pack said sometimes that's not enough. "A lot of reports from our drivers. Yea, we've had some problems especially on 377. People just don't seem to want to pay attention to the red lights on the buses. If they had any idea how dangerous that was I think they would think twice about it."
For National School Bus Safety Week local troopers will be on high alert, riding some buses and patrolling drop off and pick up sites. Trooper Mark Tackett said, "we're going to be looking for people that are racing past school buses or any kind of dangerous activity around those because once again, they are carrying precious cargo and we don't want those kids injured."
There were 762 crashes in Texas last year involving school buses, injuring about 90 and killing one. So the extra enforcement is certainly welcome. Pack said, "the fact that DPS is going to do it is awesome. I'm loving it. This will be great. They'll be busy."
On average, Whitesboro ISD buses carry about 50 students per trip, 30 percent of those kids are primary school age. All the more reason Pack said drivers need to slow down and pay extra special attention. "They're the big yellow buses and give them a little room so to speak and just obey those red lights. Because the drivers are trying hard to keep those kids safe."
Tackett said, "when people pass the school bus they're putting those kids lives in danger."
In the state of Texas alone, more than 1 million children ride the school bus every day. Failing to stop for a school bus with flashing lights is punishable up to a $1,000 fine.