By Sarah Plummer
Data released by the West Virginia Department of Education revealed 55 percent of bus routes targeted by law enforcement officers during National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 22-26, turned up multiple violators who received tickets and fines.
According to the state, some troopers who participated in the school bus ride-a long saw multiple violations while others saw few or none.
Statewide, the results of the 2012 National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation survey found that about 450 motorists pass stopped school buses each day.
The day the survey was taken, 88 motorists passed school buses illegally.
“We are appreciative of our partnership with the State Police and other organizations to keep our children safe,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “We cannot allow motorists to continue to put the lives of our children at risk of injury or death. When motorists fail to obey the law, they endanger the lives of our children, our drivers and themselves.”
While some citations were issued over the safety week, Southern Regional Highway Safety Program Coordinator Lt. Paul Blume said, “School Bus Safety Week is about much more than issuing citations. We don’t want to have high numbers that show us we have motorists breaking the law. We want to make sure we use this week to spread education and awareness.”
Blume said in addition to State Police working with the Department of Education, the Southern Regional Highway Safety Program coordinated additional patrols on city and county levels.
Blume, who is also a Beckley Police officer, said that while Beckley PD boosts patrols during School Bus Safety Week, “this is a problem we take seriously throughout the year.”
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