Weeks after driver misses kids while passing stopped school bus, - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Weeks after driver misses kids while passing stopped school bus, no citations written

Driver passes stopped school bus as child is exiting Driver passes stopped school bus as child is exiting

It was a dangerous situation: a driver ignored the flashing lights of a school bus and pulled up as the bus door opened, stopped, and even though students were on the steps, drove by the door.

It happened on Rickenbaker Road on Oct. 31, and the incident was caught on the bus' surveillance video.

"What's made me even more angry and concerned is the fact that we're almost a month and a half out there's been no tickets written, there's been no action taken," said J. Britt, who watched the incident from his yard.

Britt's kids narrowly missed being hit by the car.  The bus drops them off in front of their home, but they have to cross the road to get to their house.

"The bus was over a little more because there was a car that was parked on this side of the curb, so they were out a few feet," said Britt. "But the simple fact that there was a car parked in this lane proves she wasn't in the middle of the road."

Britt credited the bus driver with having a cool head not to startle the kids who were steps away from danger.

"She didn't yell, like 'Oh my God stop,' and, this I thought was pretty cool, she said, 'In my experience if you yell at little kids sometimes it will startle them and they'll run.'"

Instead, she honked the horn and motioned the students to stop. Still, school district officials say the bus driver made a mistake.

"Buses are to pull as far to the right of the roadway as they possibly can," said Richland One spokesperson Karen York. "That was not done.

District officials say the bus driver also didn't check the mirrors. There are blind spots around the bus.

The woman driving the car is a teacher at a nearby elementary school.

"The teacher however, was encouraged, urged to be mindful that she should obey all traffic laws at all times, regardless of the time of at of if she's at or near her school," said York.

The bus drive received a letter, sent December 6th. We're told one will also be sent to the teacher, but it's not a letter of reprimand. 

When asked if a teacher should know better, York responded, "We certainly want everyone, teachers and all other motorists to abide by traffic safety laws to help ensure our student are safe at all times."

According to the state law, a driver "must stop before reaching the bus where there are in operation on the bus flashing red lights." 

What upset Britt, who is a father, the most is "There's no mechanisms in place already for what do they do when this happens."

The driver tried to get the car's license number but couldn't.  Police say unless they're sitting there, and catch the driver,  there's no mechanism to cite them. 

Copyright 2012 WIS.  All rights reserved.

 

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