Covington County Cracking Down on Drivers Passing Buses
Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver says he’s recieved multiple reports of vehicles passing school buses that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights.
A bus driver turns on lights and extends a stop sign when the bus has stopped to pick up or drop off students. When a bus has those lights on and the sign up, both directions of traffic are required to stop unless it is on a divided highway. This is so students who need to cross the street or walk around the bus can do so safely.
Bus drivers are reporting to Driver that cars are ignoring the lights and stop sign and passing the cars, which is illegal in Alabama. Driver and Covington County Transportation Director Ricky Messick say drivers passing school buses put all 2,500 Covington County students who ride buses in danger.
“Our business right now, what we want to do is make more, as more people aware of the possible dangers and the problem we’re having,” says Messick. “Because the more people we make aware, the better it’s going to be. Maybe it’s going to help think when they’re on 29, ‘hey, I need to watch for buses.”
Driver has asked the Covington County Sheriff’s Office to patrol areas where bus drivers see the most cars try to pass. He’s also asking the public to help out, and says if anyone sees a car try to pass a bus they need to write down the license plate number and call it in.
“They might save a few seconds, but it could cost the child their life. And we just don’t want to see that happen,” Driver says.
A driver who is pulled over for passing a bus could face a fine of up to $300 for a first offense. Driver says a second offense could result in $500 fines and a possible license suspension. If you see a car passing a bus and you’d like to report it, call Covington County Schools at (334) 222-7571 and ask to speak to Ricky Messick.