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Bus Running Drivers “Caught On Tape”

May 2, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under News, Public Safety 1 Comment
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Persistent Parent’s Home Video Finally Getting the Attention It Deserves. View video after the jump.

As the creative YouTube piece notes “A picture speaks a thousand words.” And, so does a video …

In the fall of last year a concerned Loudoun parent began videotaping the highway scene where their child boarded the school bus every morning.

For some time, and with great alarm the parent had noticed car after car and truck after truck blatantly ignoring one of the most basic rules of school bus safety, that, by law, all vehicles on the road, in any lane and coming from any direction must come to a complete stop while children get on and off the bus.

The Blue Ridge Leader got involved with this story after receiving a tip at tipline@BRLeader.com, and within days of posting links to the parent’s original YouTube video on our website and Facebook page we were flooded with comments.

According to the parent, despite repeated calls and complaints to Loudoun County Public Schools, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the State Police, Transportation Managers, and other state and local officials, vehicles continued to “run the bus” at dangerous speeds,” … “with blatant disregard to the law.”

In one sequence the video showed 100 vehicles running the bus, and, said the parent, “I only had my video camera at the bus stop 50 percent to 60 percent of the time.

One BRL Facebook posting said: “I don’t know what is more shocking … that this many drivers either don’t know (or don’t care about) the laws, or that there has not been any response or enforcement.”

Another BRL Facebook posting noted that “There HAS been law enforcement at this stop (long before the video was posted). Unfortunately, even with law enforcement present, it not does not seem to reduce the number of cars that regularly run the bus. The bus stops at this stop four times each day. Yesterday, there was no less than four-seven deputies at the stop for each of these four times. Cars ran the bus during three of these four stops in spite of HEAVY law enforcement presence. They caught a total of seven bus runners in just this one day. This level of enforcement at this one site, although greatly appreciated, is not going to solve the county wide problem. Bus runner cameras may offer a more effective county wide solution than posting four-seven officers at one stop. If LCPS would install bus runner cameras on a limited number of buses, they could rotate these buses through to the stops with the highest number of bus runners. This would create suppression of bus running as well as generate revenue (that would more than pay for the cameras). This one bus stop could probably pay for several bus runner cameras.”

According to the parent doing the videotaping, they were told that bus cameras that could identify the drivers would not be installed because of legal issues and costs.

LCPS employees have stated that this kind of “Bus Running” happens frequently, all over the county, and that ours “is not even the most dangerous stop”.

While this is an issue of law enforcement, there are simply not enough officers available to monitor every bus stop in the county. However, if bus runner cameras are installed on the buses, it would provide a means of monitoring, deterrence and revenue from an issue that has been not taken seriously for far too long.

The Blue Ridge Leader contacted Wade Byard, Communications Director for Loudoun County Public Schools for comment. Byard said, “We have been aware of the situation depicted in the youtube video and have worked, and will continue to work, with the parent who filmed the video to find an alternate bus stop. We have been working with the Sheriff’s Office to increase the tickets being given to people who pass stopped buses. Car should stop unless they are in the opposite lane of a four-lane divided highway.”

1 comment

  1. Terry says:

    I noticed in the statement from Wade Byard, he didn’t address the subject of installing bus runner cameras. I wonder what the real issue is regarding the cameras? I find it hard to believe that the county has a way of generating revenue and hasn’t jumped on it. Maybe some investigative reporting needs to be done. There was an article dated 3 March 2011 were Mr. Byard implied the it would be too expensive to install cameras on all of the buses. That wouldn’t be necessary anyway. Maybe if the county would come out and answer some questions regarding the installation of the cameras, parents might understand why there hasn’t been any action.

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