“This is terrible”: Bus driver frustrated with reckless driving

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 9:39 PM CDT
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PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - As we approach the end of the school year, deputies are wanting you to make sure you’re still aware of kids around school buses.

The issue of school bus safety has become so much of a problem that Greene County Sheriff’s deputies boarded busses on Wednesday when they launched “Operation Safe Kid”.

Several people were caught passing a Greene County Technical school bus during the operation.

The bus was full of kids, stopped, and the red stop sign arm was out.

“I’ve got 8 lights. They flash as I come to a stop, I have a flashing strobe light and they even paint the buses a special yellow color. I don’t understand,” said bus driver Michael Finch.

Finch calls the bus his office for a couple of hours a day, but it’s not always the safest place, especially along Highway 49 in Paragould.

“I am watching it and everything and going down 49,” he said. “A lot of bus drivers don’t have 5 lanes of traffic, but I have 5 lanes of traffic and traffic running 60 plus miles per hour.”

An officer was on the bus during the operation watching for passers. He also communicated with other officers down the road to make stops.

“It’s not so much that I am worried about the traffic around me, but it’s what is the traffic going to do to me in reaction to somebody doing something else,” Finch said.

He said it is normal to see people pass busses but added it needs to stop so they can keep kids safe.

“It’s very frustrating because I have 40-50 of your kids on my bus that I am taking care of,” Finch said.

Deputies said a lot of drivers use a turning lane as an excuse to continue driving on the opposite side of the road.

According to HB 1265, there must be an unpaved median or barrier to allow traffic to flow while a bus is stopped.

Violators can be fined $250 to $1,000 or sentenced to up to 90 days in jail.

Finch said as soon as students step onto his bus, it is his goal to get them home safely.

Sheriff Steve Franks said since this operation was very successful, they are working to do one again.

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