You see the school bus coming toward you slowing down. The stop sign arm is slowly coming out, but you know you're running late. What do you do?
Unfortunately, many run the sign putting lives in danger.
Last year in Indiana, the lives of three children were taken after a driver illegally passed the bus as students were boarding. Those three, a 9-year-old girl and her twin 6-year-old brothers, are not alone.
And while a tragic incident hasn't happened in Madison County, many drivers are running the signs.
Matt Hoskins, a bus driver for Madison County Schools, has been a school bus driver for about three years. His one goal is to keep children safe.
It's a task that shouldn't be as difficult as it is, but on most days, a lot of drivers don't stop when his bus's stop sign is extended.
"The biggest problem is it's not just a stop sign. It's kids' lives," he told The Register. "They have to cross over in front of my bus. I usually don't let my kids off -- I won't even open the door … until I see that all traffic has stopped. Child safety; that's my biggest thing."
That's just one bus. If you take into consideration the amount of routes in the county, the numbers are scary when thinking about how many times people put students' lives in danger.
People who fail to stop when a bus has its flashing stop sign arm out often don't realize that with enough evidence, usually bus surveillance video, drivers can still face repercussions for their actions. Something as simple as knowing the license plate number can help identify the owner of the vehicle, who can be charged even if they weren't behind the wheel at the time of the incident. Passing a loading/unloading school or church bus is a class B misdemeanor offense. Generally, it could result in a citation with a mandatory court date, according to police officials.
Richmond Assistant Police Chief Rodney Richardson said anyone who notices unsafe driving behaviors, and when they notice drivers passing by buses that are stopped, should call police. He said when a bus's stop sign is extended, all drivers have to stop. Anyone who sees drivers not doing that is asked to call police at 859-624-4776.
We hope citizens and the many drivers on the road take notice that this dangerous activity needs to stop. And not just when it's is convenient for them.
Hoskins said it best: "...If people see the red lights flashin', don't be passin'. That's my motto."