Tri-Valley School District Cracks Down on Dangerous Driving
COLTON, S.D.-The school year just started in South Dakota, but one school district is already cracking down on dangerous drivers.
“When you see the stop sign on a school bus come out you need to stop, I mean that really as simple as it gets,” said Dr. Mike Lodmel, Tri-Valley School District Superintendent.
However, some drivers aren’t doing that. It was a close call for Daniel Schlueter’s daughter who was almost hit getting off a bus last fall.
Scary, absolutely scary,” said Schlueter.
“There was an oncoming pickup and what had happened is the red light showed up and my daughter saw the red light with the stop arm come out and she started going across and the pickup never stopped.”
This prompted the Tri-valley school district to look into the problem.
“I asked our bus drivers you know how many times does this happen here and it was a lot more than I realized,” said Lodmel.
Over the summer the district installed “stop arm cameras” to the side of their buses in the front and back. School officials hope it will make a difference.
“We want to make sure we are being proactive and that people are aware that it is a safety concern for our students if you’re not following the law and stopping behind a school bus with the red lights flashing,” said Lodmel.
“If something like this prevents another one of those scenarios from happening, acting as a turrant than I think it’s a great thing,” said Schlueter.
If a vehicle illegally passes a bus while it has its stop sign out, cameras on the front and back capture the footage. Then it’s sent to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Three drivers have already been caught this school year, including one just this morning. The fine for illegally passing a school bus is $250.
Lodmel says the goal isn’t to get people in trouble, but to keep students safe
“Really the hope is letting people know we have them and hopefully the violations decrease.”
That way there are no more close calls or worse.
Tri-valley isn’t the only school district using these cameras. The Yankton and Dell Rapid School Districts have them as well.