The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit will be participating in the “Stop means Stop” campaign, which has been endorsed by first lady Sandra Deal. Deputies with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office will be vigorously enforcing stop arm violations.
The state Board of Education is requesting help with “Stop Means Stop.” This campaign is to stop those who are passing school buses while loading and unloading children.
It is reported that on a single day, Georgia has 4,100 violations of vehicles passing school buses. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, in the 2010-11 school year, two of the nation’s eight student deaths involving school buses happened in Georgia. In 2009-10, Georgia led the nation with five student deaths involving school buses. Mrs. Deal wants everyone to be more alert of school bus stops and children as Georgia’s kids go back to school.
Deputies will be riding various school buses throughout this campaign, which will be conducted the week of Aug. 20-24. If the deputy sees a violation, he will radio ahead to have another deputy stop the vehicle and issue the driver a citation. There will be zero tolerance for those who violate this law.
“Our primary focus will be the safety of our children who get on and off school buses on a daily basis,” Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said.
The minimum fine for passing a school bus with the stop sign extended is a $1,000 fine and six points on a driver’s license.
Below are some safety tips the ECSO would like people to follow:
• Parents, get to know your bus driver.
• Be visible at the bus stop by getting out of your car and standing with your child.
• Be at your bus stop five minutes early and only use your child’s assigned stop.
• Encourage children to load and unload in an orderly line.
• Make sure hands are free and all their belongings are inside their school bag.
• Teach your children to stay 12 feet from the street and never approach the bus unless it is completely stopped and the door is open.
• When unloading, teach children to look for traffic before exiting the bus. They should then proceed in a straight line, in full view of the bus driver directly to a safe location 12 feet away from the bus and the street.
• If a child must cross the street to load or unload a bus, teach him to always look for moving traffic. Cars may not stop. The child should always keep eye contact with the bus driver and watch for their signals.
• A child should never cross behind a bus or return to the bus after unloading. In the event that a child drops something near a bus, advise your child to gain the attention of the bus driver by waving their hands above their heads from a safe distance, and to never attempt to retrieve the item without the full attention and instruction from the bus driver.