CAIRO, GA (WALB) - Concerned parents in Grady County say many drivers are breaking the law, and putting their students at risk. They say drastic measures must be taken to ensure bus riders' safety.
When they see the stop sign on the bus, most drivers say they know what to do. But the Grady County Board of Education says drivers rushing to and from work get frustrated with frequent bus stops, and decide to pass buses illegally.
"It takes one accident to devastate this community," said Jerry Cox Director of Transportation.
The Georgia Department of Education calls it the 'School Bus Danger Zone.' It's where most accidents and fatalities occur because students are hit by passing cars. It's a constant fear on the minds of Grady County bus drivers.
"The drivers are ultimately responsible for what happens on their bus and while they're driving. They are very afraid that something might happen on their watch," said Adrienne Cruel Transportation Coordinator.
County bus drivers recorded nearly 20 drivers breaking the law in one day. The bus system plans to use ESPLOST money to add new stop arm cameras that will catch violators in the act.
Cox says drivers are trained not to open the doors until all vehicles around it are stopped. But sometimes it takes a few minutes for everyone to follow the law.
Georgia law states that you must come to a complete stop when you see these flashing lights, even if you're on the other side of the road. The only time you're not required to stop is when a median divides the roadway. If you're ticketed, you have to pay a fine and six points are added to your license.
"We need to work as a team," said Cox. "School system, law enforcement, and community. With patience and understanding in order to protect our children."