PITTSBURGH - Target 11 investigator Rick Earle learned that during a two-year period in one local community, nearly 1,300 drivers failed to stop for a school bus, either picking up or dropping off students.
“Every single morning, every single afternoon, without fail, somebody runs the outwardly-put stop sign on the bus,” parent Becky Dittman said.
Dittman said the violations have gotten so bad that she started videotaping traffic on Perry Highway in the North Hills after her 8-year-old daughter was nearly hit by a driver last spring.
“I literally had to scream at her to stop walking because there were cars coming from that direction, coming south directly through the stop sign flashing, and they didn't even stop. Not at all. Never even tapped their brakes,” she said.
Videos from across the country have captured drivers illegally passing school buses and narrowly missing students.
In October, a speeding car went on to the shoulder and around a school bus in Moon Township as a girl was about to board the bus. The on-board bus camera captured the incident.
“If she had walked a few seconds sooner or the car was going a little faster or slower, she probably would have been hit and struck,” Moon Township Police Officer Michael Barravecchio said.
Police are still trying to track down the driver.
Earle learned that some police departments in the Pittsburgh metro area are aggressively targeting drivers.
During a two-year period, police in North Versailles issued the most citations with 220. Coming in at number two was East McKeesport with 123 citations and in third was the city of Pittsburgh with 118.
Across Allegheny County, 1,000 drivers have been cited. (View the complete breakdown below.)
“That's great, and it probably needs to be more than that,” Mike Bacco, who runs the First Student bus garage in Plum, said.
Bacco said one of the biggest problems that bus drivers face is at an intersection, where all cars are required to stop. He said the only time drivers can legally pass a school bus is if they’re on the other side of a highway that’s clearly divided by a concrete barrier, guide rail or grass median.
“You never know when a kid is going to dart off to run for that bus, and it’s crucial that everybody stop for those lights when they are on,” Bacco said.
Drivers caught illegally passing a school bus face a $250 fine, five points on their license and a 60-day suspension of their license.
Below is a complete ranking of the number of school bus-related citations issued to drivers in communities across the area (NOTE: The data is from traffic dockets filed from January 2013 through December 2014, as recorded in the Magisterial District Judge System.):
1040 = Allegheny County
86 = Butler County
78 = Westmoreland County
52 = Washington County
31 = Beaver County
222 = North Versailles Township (Allegheny County)
120 = East McKeesport (Allegheny County)
119 = Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
90 = Esmworth (Allegheny County)
55 = Neville Township (Allegheny County)
51 = Ben Avon (Allegheny County)
48 = Middlesex Township (Butler County)
42 = Crafton (Allegheny County)
26 = Ingram (Allegheny County)
26 = Mount Oliver (Allegheny County)
24 = McCandless Township (Allegheny County)
21 = Kennedy Township (Allegheny County)
17 = Bridgeville (Allegheny County)
13 = Hempfield Twonship (Westmoreland County)
13 = McKeesport (Allegheny County)
12 = Hampton Township (Allegheny County)
12 = Moon Township (Allegheny County)
12 = Ross Township (Allegheny County)
10 = East Deer (Allegheny County)
10 = Jackson Township (Butler County)
10 = North Fayette Township (Allegheny County)
10 = South Park Township (Allegheny County)
9 = South Fayette Township (Allegheny County)
8 = Aspinwall (Allegheny County)
8 = Bethel Park (Allegheny County)
8 = California (Washington County)
8 = Greensburg (Westmoreland County)
7 = Green Tree (Allegheny County)
7 = Penn Township (Westmoreland County)
7 = Peters Township (Washington County)
6 = Monroeville (Allegheny County)
6 = Penn Hills (Allegheny County)
6 = North Huntingdon Township (Westmoreland County)
6 = Richland Township (Allegheny County)
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