Warning to Pay Attention for School Busses

Posted at: 08/28/2013 5:46 PM
Updated at: 08/28/2013 6:26 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- In a couple of days, students around the area will be going back to school. But there are some important lessons out there for the rest of us, too. You might call it “School Bus 101".

"If you see a bus with the amber lights on, know that they are ready to pick up kids or drop kids off," Austin police officer Chad Norman reminded us.

“Better slow down. The bus is going to stop pretty quick," added Dean Bishop, who will begin his 18th year as an Austin school bus driver next week.

“Once the bus stop arm comes out and the red lights are on, state law requires you to stop at least 20 feet from the bus," said officer Chad Norman.

“And they are not to move until all those lights go off and the stop arm is retracted," bus driver Dean Bishop put in.

"If it's a roadway that's not divided by a median you're required to stop if you're coming toward the bus or coming up behind the bus," Austin police officer Chad Norman explained.

It's a pretty simple law ... but you might be surprised how many people don't get it.

"I suppose once a week we hear from a driver that somebody has gone through the stop arm," bus driver Dean Bishop said.

You might not get a ticket at the scene, but it doesn't mean you're home free.

"A lot of times the bus driver will come into our office after the route is done with the vehicle information and the plate number, then we go out and locate the person and they will get a ticket for the offense," said the APDs Chad Norman.

“And it's usually because they are on the telephone, on the cell phone," driver Dean Bishop told us.

“The texting is the big thing,” police officer Chad Norman said. “The two seconds you look down to send a text or look at a text."

They're two seconds that could lead to tragedy.

"The consequence is you could hurt or kill a child,” police officer Chad Norman said. “And nobody wants that."