The Mississippi Highway Patrol is stepping up enforcement of school bus safety laws in the wake of a string of injuries.

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Troopers Step Up School Bus Safety Enforcement

By Daniel Cherry | Published 20 Nov 2011 04:09pm | comments

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is stepping up enforcement efforts to catch those who break traffic laws near school busses. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how three children have been hit in the past month, and officers are on high alert.

Picture this: you're a little late for work and stuck behind a school bus. The yellow lights begin to flash, the bus slows and you see your chance to shoot by just as the stop sign opens up. Corporal Odis Easterling with the Mississippi Highway Patrol says think twice. Troopers are trailing bus routes to snag safety offenders.

"Any type of moving violations. Particularly we're looking for people who are trying to pass the bus when it's stopped. In doing that we're finding people who are speeding. Earlier we found someone passing on a double yellow line, passing a school bus."

In just weeks, Mississippi has seen two accidents where three children have been hit near a bus...one resulted in the death of a 10 year old boy. Chuck Horner has been driving a bus for 7 years, and he says motorists should use extra caution when near a bus.

"When you run the stop sign on that bus, you can't see those little Kindergarten kids because they're liable to run out in front of you because they don't think. They don't see any fear. If you can't see that big bus with those flashing lights and a stop sign sticking out in front of you, you shouldn't be driving."

Earlier this year Mississippi enacted Nathan's Law, meaning stiffer penalties for drivers who endanger children near busses. But officers can't be everywhere at once. Joseph Adams, the transportation director for Northwest Rankin High School, says that's why they warn children to take every precaution near the bus.

"We talk a lot to our children and feel like it's good for the parents as well to help enforce this and remind them that they should always stay 10 feet away from the school bus in all directions. We call that the danger zone around the school bus."

Under Nathan's Law, first offense will cost you $750 dollars. Second offense is up to $1500 dollars.

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