BETHESDA, Md. - There is a warning for drivers who are normally in a hurry. School may be out for most kids for the summer, but school buses are still running and Montgomery County police say drivers are speeding by them when they are stopped.
Not only is it dangerous, but it could cost you a lot more out of your pocket if you are caught doing it.
Last October, police coordinated with Montgomery County Public Schools to put cameras on about 100 school buses to catch drivers who did not stop when the buses are at a complete stop. What they learned was thousands of people are not only breaking the law, but they are putting children’s lives at risk.
Right now, it may be summertime, but a lot of kids are still going to school and using the school bus.
“The cars just run straight by us,” said one student.
These kids are smart. They know not all cars are going to wait patiently for them to get off the bus.
"I really like seeing my parents, but sometimes cars zoom by and you have to slow down when you don't want to get hit,” another girl said.
According to Montgomery County police, 16,000 drivers have been cited since October of last year for not stopping when a bus is stopped with its stop sign displayed.
"When a school bus stops, all traffic traveling in the same direction as that bus must come to a stop, wait for those children to get on the bus or completely off the bus, and for the lights to stop flashing,” said Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks.
If you do the math, that is more than 100 drivers a day in the county.
"The kids see the stop sign, they start edging toward the bus or getting off the bus, and that is kind of a really bad situation waiting to happen,” said parent and teacher Abbi Owen.
"They run off the bus because they are excited, they want to tell their parents about their day and they are not really looking,” said Jen Bauer, who is also a parent and teacher.
Both parents and police officers in the county are really urging drivers in a hurry or not paying attention to listen up.
“There are summer schools, there are camps and we want to remind motorists that they still have to use caution,” said Capt. Starks.
Police also want drivers to know the law.
"Paint does not protect, so if it's just the striping or the paint on the road, all traffic in both directions must stop,” Starks said.
Because the bottom line, no child's life is worth the rush.
If there is a physical barrier, grassy median or cement dividers, vehicles on the opposite side of the road of a stopped school bus can continue to travel.
As of July 1, if you are caught on camera, it is an automatic $250 citation. However, if a police officer is present and issues the citation, it is $570 fine and three points added to your driving record, according to Maryland state law.