OUACHITA PARISH, LA (08/08/19)–Our children might not be excited for school starting, but we’re sure many parents are ready to get them out of the house. With Ouachita Parish picking up and dropping off an average of 13 thousand students a day. The goal is to keep every one of those students safe.
School buses have been off the streets for the last couple of months, however starting next week they’re switching gears.
” Just think for a minute of what it is and drive slowly with the bus, be patient, stay behind the bus and be prepared to stop,” said Glenn Springfield, Public Information Officer for Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Louisiana law requires drivers to stop no less than 30 feet from a bus that has its flags out.
“Therefore if you are following the bus or if it’s oncoming you have to stop and yield to that bus. The exception to the law are roads that do have some type of divider in-between the lanes,” said Officer Springfield.
Whatever direction you are coming from, failure to stop can result in a fine up to 500 dollars , 6 months in jail or having your license suspended. Police might not be present but bus drivers can report you.
“A driver has a form they can fill out describing the car and the license tag, turn it into the law enforcement authority and the owner of that vehicle can and will be issued a citation,” said Officer Springfield.
When entering a school zone slow down and put away all distractions, including the phone.
“Forget about it until you get out of a school zone, there is no conversation in the world worth jeopardizing the safety of those kids,” said Springfield.
When attending a bus stop it’s encouraged to always have an adult present with a young children. In addition, walking the route and making sure the child understands the process.
“Keep an adult there, you can rotate it out in the neighborhood or other parents can take turns, whatever it takes but make sure you do that,” said Springfield.
Ouachita Parish has few bus related crashes or incidents. However, it’s always a good reminder.
“If it happened one time, it’s one time too many. It could have been prevented if the people just would pay attention to what they are doing,” said Springfield.
Officers say starting next week they will be out in schools zones cracking down on the law.