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STOP! For School Buses


By Jay Michaels and Aimee Burnett

Burley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Last week's tragic death of an eleven year old boy in a school bus and dump truck accident in Kuna has many people concerned something like that could happen here in Magic Valley.

Now, a local school district is raising awareness after several concerning reports from bus drivers.

School bus drivers turn on their flashing yellow lights 200 feet before they stop. In hazardous weather like we've had this week, they do it even sooner. But not everyone is taking the time to stop.

It's hard to believe, but when it comes to stopping their cars for the school bus, teen drivers are much more alert than many adults are.

School bus driver Stacey Winningham says, "The problem I've had has usually been mothers, that have been texting on their phone. That's the ones that I have to honk the horn, and they, 'Oh, wait, there's a big bus.' I don't know how we're so invisible being a big yellow bus."

This fall, there were more than 70 times on just one Burley school bus route where other drivers ignored the extended stop signs on school buses. Because of that, the supervisor moved the bus stops off that section of road. And he encourages drivers to be patient.

Cassia County Transportation Supervisor Jim Hamilton says, "The couple minutes that you're waiting for the bus could be life-changing for the family, the bus driver, and you as the driver of that vehicle."

Bus drivers have this thought drilled into their heads: Their most important job is to keep the kids riding on the bus safe. And that's why they take their jobs very seriously.

Winningham says, "There's a few near misses, that the driver has almost said, 'I'm done, I can't handle the guilt, if anything happened.'"

Reminding drivers that stopping could mean the difference between life and death for the young riders on board.

December 10, 2013.

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