KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Millions of drivers ignore stop signs on school buses, according to a national study released this week.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services asked school bus drivers to count how many cars passed them illegally in just one day's time.
108,000 bus drivers participated this year, and across the country, they counted 85,279 people ignoring their bus stop signs.
In Kansas, drivers counted 1,858 violations; In Missouri, 3,747 people drove past the signs.
In a year's time, the study estimates drivers will ignore a school bus' stop arm 15,000,000 times.
According to Missouri and Kansas state law, all drivers must stop when a bus is loading, or unloading, children on a two-way street.
Drivers do not need to stop on a divided highway with a median if they're headed in the opposite direction of the bus. Drivers also do not need to stop if they're driving in four lanes of traffic and headed in the opposite direction of the bus.
Bus drivers say they need cars to stay 12 feet back from children to keep them safe. They call the area a 12-foot danger zone and ask kids waiting for the bus to also keep 12 feet away until the bus comes to a stop.
The fines for blowing past a bus stop sign can be steep.
In Kansas City, Mo., the fine for failing to stop when a bus displays blinking red lights and a stop sign is $111.50. In Johnson County, Kan., the fine is $150.
However, officers in both Kansas and Missouri say the law is hard to enforce. Overland Park Police have only issued 16 citations for bus stop sign violations in the last five years.
Even with the alarming statistics, it's important to know kids are safest taking the bus to school. Nationally, 815 kids die on the commute to class every school year. Only 12 of those happen on or while waiting for the bus.
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