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School Bus Company: More Drivers Ignoring Stop-Arm

One school bus contractor in Bingham County said more and more drivers are simply ignoring their stop-arms.

Valene Olney drives for Teton Stagelines. She picks up and delivers kids to charter schools around Blackfoot and Idaho Falls.

“The area that I have the most violations is the main road, Meridian Street in Blackfoot,” she said.

Olney said lately drivers just seem completely out-of-it. She said drivers blast past her bus, even when the stop arm is out. Once, she said, a pickup truck barreled by and she blasted the horn to warn the kids.

“Luckily my kids were paying attention when I honked that horn,” she said. “I think they would have got run over.”

Bingham County Sheriff Dave Johnson said bus drivers like Olney are the front line in reporting offenders.

“It may be somebody that’s intoxicated, may be somebody that we really need to get them off the road,” he said.

Officers, he said, rely on tips from other drivers who witness folks breaking the law.

“Talking on phones, reading books, eating, all sorts of things that distract the driver from what they should be doing, which is driving,” he said.

Olney said the stop arm shouldn’t have to be out for folks to be cautious.

“We’re big and yellow for a reason,” she said.

Teton Stagelines buses have cameras to identify drivers who break the law. Sheriff Johnson said if you see a violation, just call 9-11.

Failing to yield for a school bus stop arm is a misdemeanor crime. A driver can face a $300 fine and up to a year in jail.

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