School bus drivers in Beaverton said all too often drivers are putting kids in danger by blowing past their buses after the stop arm is out.
Every day, Jorge Rivera takes kids to and from school in Beaverton. And every day, Rivera said he watches drivers zoom past his bus after the stop arm is out and the lights are flashing.
"14 years of driving a school bus now, I'm kind of numb to it, to be honest, but it doesn't make it any less dangerous," Jorge Rivera, a bus driver for the Beaverton School District said.
FOX 12 rode along with Rivera over a few day period and set up cameras to see if we could see drivers breaking the law.
"The way they're supposed to react is they're supposed to slow down and prepare to stop," Rivera said. "No one does that though. It's the same as a traffic light. It turns yellow and everyone hits the gas."
In no time, and at a busy intersection nonetheless, we caught a car doing just that. But we found some drivers don't try and beat the sign, they just flat out run it.
Our cameras caught one car slow down, but still make the decision to pass the sign.
"They have to be aware and be ready to stop for those kids that might jump out when we might even just have the warning lights on and the kids might start crossing," Rivera said.
Most drivers we caught on camera blatantly ran the stop sign while traveling the opposite direction of the bus. Something deputies with the Washington County Sheriff's Office said a lot of drivers claim they don't realize it is the law.
"People are like well the kids aren't going to come across the four-lane highway, well the thing is depending on the age of the children on the bus, a six-year-old comes off a bus and sees something across the roadway, like a dog or maybe a parent that's coming to the bus stop late, he'll just run across the road and not even look," Deputy Craig Wellhouser with the Washington County Sheriff's Office said. FOX 12 followed sheriff's deputies as they pulled over a driver on 185th Avenue near Cornell in Beaverton for driving pass a bus from the opposite direction. The driver was given a $440 dollar ticket.
"I have seen close calls in my career and obviously those people receive citations," Deputy Wellhouser said. "There's a few things that I do not give warnings on and going past the bus is absolutely one of them. In 20 years, I've never given a warning on that. I just, it's that important."
According to a survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, participating bus drivers across Oregon counted more than 1,600 stop arm violations in a single day in 2017.
"I don't know why," Rivera said. "What positions someone to behave that way. I don't understand. To put students in jeopardy, to put them at risk, it just baffles me, to be honest."
But Rivera said even if rushed drivers aren't doing their part to keep kids safe, he'll keep doing his by protecting and educating kids about the dangers of crossing the road.
Washington County deputies said they have to actually see someone run the stop sign in order to ticket them. But as they get complaints from bus drivers, they will then set up missions in problem areas to ticket people and remind them it's not just the law, it's dangerous.
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