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Distracted driving main cause of recent fatal bus stop crashes across nation

Posted at 6:58 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 19:58:42-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — In the past week, five kids trying to go to school have been killed, seven more injured in separate accidents at bus stops.

The National Traffic Safety Administration said the most dangerous time for students isn't being on the bus but when students are getting on or off the school bus. 

"When you're around the bus, that is a safety critical environment, children are either getting on that bus or they are disembarking and you need to be aware that you have to stop," said Maureen Vogel, spokeswoman for the National Safety Council. 

Overland Park Police Traffic Officer Andrew Black is disheartened to hear the news as he sees this problem a lot, "I can see a lot of texting going on while they are trying to drive."

Black said the department is actively trying to stop this dangerous trend. 

"If a bus driver sees it happen, they can write down the tag number and we contact the owner of the car, the owner is presumed to be the owner driving it but after we make contact we can make a citation for it," added Black.

The National Safety Council said 26 million children on school buses on the roads every day and the stop sign on the bus isn't a suggestion. 

"We really feel like this is just an education gap, drivers are not understanding how important it is to pay attention to the areas around those school buses," said Vogel. 

While bus drivers are trained to watch out for kids, the lessons need to also come from the home. 

"The parents need to teach the children they are to stay back on the sidewalk until the bus gets there and gets stopped, when exiting the buses, now all buses have a stop arm that comes out so the child has to walk out far enough so that the driver can see them," said Black. 

Fines for a first offense of running a bus stop sign can range from $100 to $500 and goes up the more times you get caught.