Dangerous drivers at bus stops caught on camera
That's putting your kid's life at risk. We're talking about cars going around stopped school buses. As you're about to see .. Cars fly by..and it's not only illegal ...it's incredibly dangerous. You're about to see drivers breaking the law. Car afterPhoto: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY - Busted at the bus stop.
Drivers are breaking the law, going around stopped school buses picking up kids and it's all caught on tape.
In one day, Fox 4 witnessed car after car blowing past buses picking up kids.
"It's a dangerous problem," said Lee County school bus driver Barbara Howard. "Somebody is going to get hurt."
Each morning, Brandon McHenry walks his 10-year-old daughter Briyaunna to the bus stop. It's a short walk from their house to the corner of Monica Lane and Pondella Road in North Fort Myers.
"I just want something to be done," said McHenry. "I mean, it's not rocket science. It's just the safety of our kids."
McHenry showed Fox 4 cell phone video he took of cars blowing past stopped buses.
"Do you notice cars going around the bus a lot?," Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant asked Briyuanna.
"Yes, yes I do," she said. "When I'm trying to get off the bus I see them going around and the bus driver honked as loud as he could."
So when do you stop?
Here are some guidelines, according to Florida law:
- If you're behind a school bus you have to stop no matter what.
- If you're going the opposite direction and there is no median everyone has to stop no matter which direction you're going.
- The ONLY time you can go is if you are traveling in the opposite direction AND there is a 5-foot median.
We drove around and our cameras captured stop sign lawbreakers in Cape Coral and on one foggy morning all along Pondella as frustrated bus drivers honk their horn.
"You get angry," said school bus driver Barbara Howard. "Because people don't care."
"Honking does nothing," said school bus driver Gayle Waters. "We usually get the Italian salute."
Waters says she's afraid a kid will get killed.
"I'm not only worried," said Waters. "I know it's a fact."
And McHenry has the same fear. Armed with a bright yellow reflector vest and a coaching whistle, he's taking his struggle to the middle of the street.
"My dad's like walking in the middle of the road trying to say 'Hey stop, you see this stupid bus right here?," said Briyaunna.
"Surely this must be going on all over Lee County," said McHenry.
Since 2009, the sheriff's office and Fort Myers police have issued 136 tickets for going around stopped school buses.
During that same time the sheriff's office gave out 101 warnings.
Each ticket will cost you $264 and four points on your license.
"It's people totally ignorant of the law," said Larry King with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, "don't fully understand the law or they're just not paying attention."
If a bus driver catches someone going around their bus, and they write down the driver's tags, they will be issued a ticket. But they admit it happens so quickly that it's hard to get the information.
McHenry has filed three reports with the sheriff's office, whose sub-station is right across the street from their bus stop.
He says they have done little to enforce the traffic laws.
"[They say] 'is it really a safety concern? Is it a safety issue?'," said McHenry. "And my rebuttal was ma'am I have children. So every child is a safety concern."
But his concerns are no longer going unnoticed. Because of what he found, and is doing, the sheriff's office is stepping up patrols.
"Periodically we'll let the traffic unit know, as well as the district office know,they need to step up enforcement in the area," said King.
"Is that something you're committed to doing now?," asked Grant.
"Absolutely," said King.
And that's something Briyaunna wants to see. Because if the flashing lights of a bus aren't enough, maybe the flashing lights of a patrol car will do the trick.
"What would you say to the drivers that are going around the bus?," asked Grant.
"I would tell them can you please stop?," said Briyaunna. "I really don't want to get hit by a car."
Matt Grant, Reporter