Deputies in Florida wrote 30 tickets on Nov. 15 at a single school bus stop, after setting up a traffic stop targeting drivers who ignore the warning lights and stop arm on school buses.
The operation came about because of as a rash of accidents nationwide. The drivers ignored school bus signaling and killed and injured multiple students, including three students who were killed in Indiana in late October.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office during “Operation Safe Stop,” handed out tickets to drivers along U.S. 19 in Port Richey, where parents had complained.
“It was just me for a while up here and what I was doing wasn’t that great either. I was kind of standing on the side of the road, yelling at people,” Kristen Rieger, who was among the first to notify the sheriff’s office, told Fox 13.
“It’s not the Pasco County School District or the Board of Education’s responsibility; it’s the Pasco County community, to stop for our children.”
You may have seen a lot yesterday about our enforcement efforts on cars on US 19 driving past a school bus stopped and…
Deputy Justin Smith said that most drivers he stopped claimed that they didn’t see the bus.
“Most of the of the excuses are that they either didn’t see the bus or thought they didn’t have to stop because they were in the far left lane or they tried to get through fast enough when the lights were still yellow,” he said.
“Unfortunately none of those excuses really work. The Florida statute is pretty clear,” Smith said.
Florida law, similar to laws across the nation, require drivers to come to a complete stop when a school bus has stopped and triggered the warning lights and stop arm. Only when drivers are traveling in the opposite direction and have a median between their vehicle and the bus are they allowed to move.
The sheriff’s office said it will keep cracking down on drivers who ignore the law. “These enforcement actions will continue. We share this video and the post from earlier today to raise awareness to this issue and help to stop it from occurring any more,” it said in a Facebook post.
Thank you all for all the support … Like I keep telling everyone it wasn't just me out there me and my friend Barbie…
Monica Douglas, who had shared a video she recorded of drivers on U.S. 19 speeding past a stopped school bus, was grateful the police were taking action.
“Thank you so much to the sheriff’s Department for coming out and sitting at the bus stop,” she said in a Facebook post.
”We greatly appreciate it. Guess you guys will stop for now on, won’t you?” she continued.
Her original video received more than 5.5 million views. Douglas and other parents are also trying to get the bus stops along the road moved, but the school district told ABC that it cannot avoid placing bus stops on busy roads. “No student crosses those roads to get to their bus, though, including at the stop in question. We always pick up ‘door-side,'” the district noted.