Deputies crack down on motorists passing stopped buses
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office – Little more than one month into the school year, Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies are stepping up traffic enforcement to protect students getting on and off school buses. Already, deputies working a pair of special operations have cited 23 drivers for illegally passing stopped school buses, in violation of state law. The most recent operation, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, resulted in eight drivers being cited for illegally passing stopped buses. Deputies issued a total of 181 traffic citations during the two-day operation and also made two misdemeanor arrests.
Two days after the Aug. 20 start of the school year, the Sheriff’s Office conducted a similar operation in Deltona that resulted in 15 drivers being cited for passing school buses and 165 traffic citations being issued. And Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson promises more operations in the future to help raise awareness about the rules regarding the sharing of the road with school buses. “When it comes to student safety, one of the biggest dangers is from drivers who ignore the law and illegally pass stopped buses,” said Sheriff Johnson. “For the protection of our children, drivers need to remain alert and avoid distractions while behind the wheel. Had our deputies not been there, any one of those violations could have resulted in tragedy.”
During this week’s operation, deputies in unmarked vehicles targeted a series of morning and afternoon bus routes on both sides of the county based on information from the Volusia County School District about where violations are most frequently occurring. When approaching a school bus displaying a stop signal, drivers are required by law to bring their vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped. The vehicle cannot pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. The only exceptions are when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction of the stopped school bus is on a divided roadway with an unpaved space of at least five feet, a raised median or a physical barrier. In these instances, the driver isn’t required to stop for the stopped school bus. Violations result in a minimum $271 fine.