Grimes County cracking down on drivers who disregard school buses

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ANDERSON, Tex. (KBTX) - Grimes County is cracking down on drivers that don't yield to school buses. County officials say it has been an on-going problem.

Recent headlines have shown the dangers to children when drivers aren't paying attention near buses and bus stops. School bus drivers in Anderson say they've seen issues frequently on their routes.

"Kid's safety is my first priority and you just see a lot of things that you know shouldn't be going on," said Sharon Kolenda. She has been a driver for four years with Anderson-Shiro CISD.

"People are really going fast a lot. And it’s really dangerous," she said.

Grimes County law enforcement agencies are working on ways to crack down on drivers who don't stop for school buses with their red lights on. The Texas Department of Public Safety has also done some undercover stings with Troopers riding on the buses.

"My kids are students as well so, I wish them to be safe. It does hit a personal note with me to know that people are violating and putting my kids at harm," said Grimes County Sheriff Sgt. Blake Baldobino.

He has two kids in Grimes County schools and says area agencies will work on more undercover stings and patrol in unmarked vehicles to stop drivers.

"The law does state if you're on a undivided highway, regardless of which direction the bus is going, if the lights are activated it's treated just as a traffic signal and they should stop," he explained.

“[DPS Troopers] were having quite a bit of problems. In fact that they had begun to ride on the school buses to observe some of the violations over the last few weeks. Also we’ve had a few complaints from local citizens regarding this," said Grimes County District Attorney Andria Bender.

Bender told KBTX the "no tolerance" policy means no warnings will be issued. Violators can face a minimum $500 fine and jail time.

"We were talking about doing a press release before the horrible deaths of the children in some of the other jurisdictions. That just sort of cemented our desire to get that out the word out to the public that this needs to stop," she said.

"We have had at least one instance of someone passing on the right hand side which is particularly dangerous because all the children are coming form that particular side," Bender added.

"Every day I get on this bus I, the first thing I think of are all the lives I have in my hands. And I tell you what that's a big responsibility," said Kolenda.

Anderson-Shiro CISD's Transportation Director said one of the big problems is people going to fast on their rural roads as well as driver distraction.