ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's a major concern for parents. We've already had two school bus crashes in South Georgia this week, and children were hurt. The bus drivers were not at fault. Both times, it was the drivers of the passing cars.
We investigated and found out illegal passing is a more common problem than you may realize.
At approximately 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, we caught a driver on camera illegally pass a school bus stopping to let children out on Gillionville Road, at the Shady Glen Lane. It's a four lane road, but it is illegal to pass in either direction on that road because it is not a divided highway.
"This is a big problem the school systems face," said Kenneth Williams Dougherty Co. Schools Transportation Director.
So you can see for yourself the scope of this problem, on a random day in April 2015, 86 cars were documented passing a Dougherty County school bus when the stop-arm was deployed.
Williams called that day's count "typical".
"But as you can see this bus also has a spot here where it says STOP, DO NOT PASS," said Transportation Supervisor Derex Woumnm.
Woumnm says that twice a day, bus drivers do what they call a "Pre-Trip" safety check, making sure the lights and the safety arms work.
Williams says, "We try to make sure the students are safe at all costs."
But when cars don't obey the law it doesn't matter how many bright lights and safety arms a school bus has, accidents will happen.
"And the majority of (school bus accidents) are vehicles hitting the bus. I mean with this big yellow vehicle, (and other drivers are) running red lights, broad siding, rear ending, I don't understand it," said Williams.
You might have noticed that the passing car we caught illegally driving by the stopped bus was driving in the opposite direction on a four lane road.
Unless there is a median separation, some kind of cement or grass barrier, the law states cars in both directions must stop when a school bus arm is deployed.