CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Schools Transportation Director Brette Fraley says he was not totally shocked at what happened on dozens of school bus routes in his county on April 22.
That’s the day a survey was taken on how motorists responded to stopped school buses when kids were getting on or off the bus. The numbers show 90 motorists disobeyed traffic laws and drove through the school buses red lights on that day. Fraley said unfortunately similar numbers could be gathered every school day. He said that’s why they decided to release the survey numbers late Tuesday evening in a robo-call to parents asking them to spread the word.
“It’s a reoccurring problem and I think by putting it in front of the public—it’s the right thing to do,” Fraley said.
Video taken from the buses shows motorists passing on the right and left. Fraley said the bus drivers have daily accounts of close calls.
“The doors are open and the kids are on the stairwell getting ready to step out out and the car goes by on the right-hand side of the bus on the berm. We have another kid in Sissonville walking across the road, he gets across the double line toward the bus and a car goes past him–doesn’t stop,” Fraley said.
The Kanawha County survey was part of an annual statewide survey. The state Department of Education chooses different days for different counties. The statewide numbers will be released later this year.
Fraley said it’s unlikely motorists don’t know the traffic rules, but instead they choose to ignore them.
“I don’t see how they don’t know you have to stop for a school bus,” he said. “I think they are preoccupied. I think that cell phones–a great communication tool–terrible to have in the car,” he said.
Fraley said he’s hopeful the more the issue is discussed the more motorists will pay attention.