AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP)– “Those are our kids you! Stop! Stop!” a frantic mother pleas with a speeding driver in a nearly tragic close call- an SUV speeds by a stopped school bus on the right side. The driver nearly missed hitting three young children that were about to step onto their school bus.
Tuesday morning’s incident happened in Washington state, but parents in western Massachusetts told 22News that they, too see drivers whipping passed stopped school buses in their own neighborhoods.
Jeanne Laizer’s nine year-old granddaughter crosses two lanes of traffic each day to get on and off the bus. She says that just the other day, she saw a driver go right around the bus’ flashing stop sign.
“He got impatient and he just passed the bus. And its a good thing the bus driver kept the door closed, because my granddaughter would have been in the middle of the street,” Laizer said.
Massachusetts state law requires all drivers to stop when a school bus has its flashing lights on and its stop sign out.
Rhonda Typowicz, mother of two school-aged children, told 22News that her kids often see drivers pass their bus illegally.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that children are actually crossing in front of the bus. So you really shouldn’t go by the bus, because it’s kind of like an ice cream truck- you have got watch out for the kids that are coming around the back side and the front side,” Typowicz said.
In a recent I-Team investigation, 22News uncovered that from 2013-2014, more than 10,000 Massachusetts drivers had received warning letters from the RMV that they had been seen illegally passing a stopped bus.
The state Department of Health and Human Services reports that the majority of injuries to do with school buses are children hit by passing cars, with children between ages 4 to 7 at the greatest risk.