GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you see the sign or the stopped school bus, you know you need to stop. Obvious, right?
Well, not to everyone. Some drivers get distracted, break the rules, and speed on by which is especially dangerous, given the thousands of students who get on and get off buses every day in Guilford County.
"Children are so unpredictable. You know, you cannot assume that they are going to stay on the bus, or you cannot assume that they're going to stay on the side of the road until all traffic is clear and look both ways," said Jeff Harris, the Transportation Director with Guilford County Schools.
Sometimes, it's in quiet neighborhoods, other times on busy streets bus drivers do their part, with flashing lights, stop arms and even longer stop arms. Some have cameras.
But not every driver surrounding these buses will stop. We caught it firsthand.
We were following Greensboro police officers Wednesday afternoon as they caught the driver of a Toyota Corolla cruise past a stopped bus. The red and blue lights were quick to follow.
"Unfortunately, because you didn't see it is not an excuse because if you didn't see a big school bus flashing red lights and stop arm, chances are you wouldn't see a student getting off the bus as well," said Officer J.B. Price.
Both Officer Price and Harris say they were kind of surprised to see this. Most people do obey the law around school buses, but for those who break it, oftentimes get away with it.
"Most of those violations [that bus drivers see] go unreported because the driver cannot get the information necessary to turn it in," Harris said.
Within the next year, Harris hopes to partner with a camera company that can record violations and report them to police, which will allow officers to dish out a civil fine the drivers.
"Hopefully, that is deterrent enough and that is going to save, possibly a disastrous crash with a student," said Officer Price.
The penalty is expensive: five points on your license, a knock on your insurance and up to a $500 fine.