“We ask motorists to be extremely cautious and to be aware that buses will soon be loading and unloading students,” said Wayne Clutter, executive director, school transportation, for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. “School buses transport West Virginia’s most precious cargo –- our children.”
According to Clutter, state law requires motorists to stop when buses are loading and unloading students.
“Statistics compiled by the Kansas Department of Education indicate that most injuries and fatalities occur at the bus stop,” he said. “Parents should instruct their children to stay off the roadway and to avoid horseplay at the bus stop. This can reduce students’ exposure to danger.”
Clutter said that school bus drivers across the state were surveyed a couple of years ago to determine how many times motorists fail to stop for buses loading and unloading children.
“We were astonished to find that bus operators reported over 1,000 instances in a single day,” he said. “As a result of concerns about student safety, we asked for and have received assistance from the West Virginia State Police.”
Clutter noted that troopers periodically ride school buses as part of the Trooper Ride Along Program. “Troopers riding buses spot motorists who ignore the flashing warning lights and pass buses. The trooper then contacts another trooper in the area by radio who then stops the motorist and issues a citation,” he explained. “This is just one step we’ve taken to help ensure the safety of children. Ultimately, though, it is up to all of us –- parents, students, bus operators, motorists and school administrators –- to provide a safe ride for our children.”