(WTOL) - When a school bus stops, cars should too. In a special investigation, WTOL 11 uncovers more than a dozen videos showing drivers blowing by stopped school buses while kids are getting on and off.
"We have had several close calls. Just last year we had a driver pass a school bus on the right side, just as a student was loading the bus" said Brad Aemisegger, TPS Director of Transportation.
And with 120 yellow buses on the roads this school year, he says student safety is the top priority for his drivers.
"Anytime you have a vehicle not obeying those lights, your putting a child's life in danger," said Aemisegger.
It's a real danger that turned deadly for one Sylvania family on January 1, 2010 when 15-year-old Morgan Duris was hit and killed while trying to get to her school bus on Erie Road. The impact tossed her 120 feet. The driver claimed she was distracted and in a rush.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average 21 kids are injured or killed each year while getting on or off the bus. And over the past two years more than 4,000 drivers here in Ohio have been convicted for failing to stop for a school bus.
"Every single violation we take very, very seriously" said Lt. Jerrod Savidge.
The problem has gotten so bad that some districts are even installing cameras on the outside of buses that activate when the stop arm is out, almost like a red light camera, capturing the license plate of any car that flies by.
"When you are approaching a school bus and the yellow lights are flashing, prepare to slow down and prepare to stop " said Lt. Savidge.
This school year state troopers will be staked out at bus stops and will even ride along with bus drivers to crack down on violators. Tactics they hope will save lives.
If caught violating the state's school bus law, you could face a court date and be fined up to $500. If convicted, your insurance premium could increase.