Drivers Facing Higher Fines for Passing School Buses Illegally

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Seven thousand students ride Bryan ISD school buses every day. That's why Jack Mann, Assistant Director of Transportation for BISD, says school bus safety is a top priority.

Unfortunately, other cars on the road put kids at risk more often than you might think.

"People get impatient," said Mann, "They try to get around the school bus and make really poor decisions."

Mann says bus drivers keep track of how many cars go around them illegally one day a year as part of a national survey.

Last year, 85 drivers broke the rules in one day in Bryan alone. The survey found nearly 10,000 cars passed buses illegally across Texas.

That's one reason why law makers have increased the maximum penalty from $500 to $1,250 for first-time offenders, effective Sept. 1. Repeat offenders could get their licenses suspended for up to six months - consequences drivers have mixed opinions about.

"That's a pretty steep fine, $1,200," said Dylan Breaux.

"I think that's fair, because they shouldn't be doing it to begin with," said Lindsay Kirk.

Mann says the rules are simple when it comes to sharing the road with a school bus, so people who put kids at risk should face the consequences.

Texas School Bus Law, according to the Texas Department of Transportation:

- Stop for flashing red lights on a school bus, regardless of which direction you're headed.
- Continue your trip once the bus has moved, the flashing lights stop flashing or the bus driver signals it's okay to pass.