Bay District Schools reminding people to stop for school buses

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - School is back in session, and with it, yellow buses taking kids to and from school.

When the red lights flash and the stop signs open, all cars near the bus must come to a stop. (WJHG/WECP)

Bay District Schools wants to remind the community of the importance of stopping when a bus is letting students off.

"It happens every day, the statistics are there, people running red lights on school buses, and kids unfortunately die from it, so it's very important to do this," said Gary Montoya, the safety & training officer for Bay District Schools.

When the red lights flash and the stop signs open, all cars near the bus must come to a stop.

"The confusion is when, and when do we not have to stop on a divided highway. So, if there's a physical barrier in the highway, the oncoming traffic does not have to stop, as long as there's a physical barrier. If there's no physical barrier, a turning lane, or just nothing there, all directions of traffic must stop," said Montoya.

To ensure all kids make it home safely, law enforcement tickets people they see driving past a stopped bus letting students off. The district also trains its bus drivers to be extra cautious.

"The driver won't even open the door to let a student out until they're comfortable and know that all directions of traffic are stopped. In the mornings it's a little different when the child's getting on the bus, because we don't have that control outside of the bus, so the mornings are, obviously, more dangerous for the children," said Montoya.

In 2019, the Bay County Sheriff's Office alone ticketed 14 people for passing a bus that was letting students off.

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