Bus accidents a reminder to drive safely

Bus accidents a reminder to drive safely

A driver is facing charges after police say he lost control and hit a school bus head on Friday morning in Bristol, Tennessee.

No one was injured in the crash, but it is the second crash involving a school bus this week.

On Tuesday, an eighteen-year-old girl drove under the back of a school bus in Scott County, Virginia and had to be cut out of her car.

We wanted to know what you can do to be safe around a school bus, and look at what the law says on sharing the road.

Chantelle Taylor shuttles 72 students to and from school every day. "You're watching inside the bus, you watching outside the bus," she told us.

She's been at it for twenty two years, and says it's "extremely stressful."

Taylor says in those years, she's seen it all. "Cars pull out in front of us. I had an incident just last week where a driver got angry because I made him stop so I could let a child off the bus. I could hear him cursing me with his windows up, that's how loud he was shouting," she said.

Taylor says she and other bus drivers have close calls every day. "Numerous drivers on a daily basis run our stop signs. We constantly have to check before we let the children off the bus that all incoming traffic and traffic from behind is at a stop," she explained.

Sullivan County Sheriff's Officer Travis Jackson explains what drivers should do when they see a stopped school bus. "They are supposed to stop a little ways back, and are not supposed to proceed around that bus until the bus resumes motion and deactivates all of its lights," he said.

Tennessee statute 558- 151 is designed to limit dangerous situations, keeping students and bus drivers safe. Jackson says the law covers a variety of driving situations. "If you are in the opposite lane and you're coming at a school bus is stopping, then you are supposed to stop as well," he said.

Jackson says violating the law is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum fine of $250 dollars, up to as much as a thousand.

Jackson also tellsus that there is only one time a driver can pass a stopped school bus -- "If there is a divided barrier, then the oncoming lane doesn't have to stop. They just have to slow down and use caution," he said.

It's good advice that Chantelle Taylor echoes. "Slow down, because it may very well be your child that you are endangering," she said.

We checked to see what Virginia laws say about school buses -- the Commonwealth has a law very similar to Tennessee's in place. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus unless there is a median separating oncoming traffic.

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