Reality Check: Importance of drivers paying attention to school buses

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In light of a Rowan County teen getting hit by a car while boarding a school bus, WKYT looked into the dangers school bus drivers and students face on the road in Lexington.

We wanted to see for ourselves, so WKYT rode along with a Fayette County school bus Wednesday afternoon.

If you're on the road during the time kids are going to school or getting home, you've seen a school bus or two driving across Fayette County.

Wednesday morning 13-year-old Christopher Olvera was hit by a car crossing KY 519 in Rowan County to get on a school bus. That's what prompted WKYT to look deeper into just how many drivers ignore the school bus's flashing lights and stop arm.

"I don't have as much trouble with cars running stop arms out in the country as you do here in the city of Lexington," said Alan Finch, a bus driver for Fayette County schools.

Finch says he has been driving a bus with the Fayette County school system for 35 years now. And he says he sees cars blow right through his stop sign two or three times a week.

"It's hard to get people to stop on these streets," said Finch.

Finch says he doesn't understand how drivers miss his big yellow bus.

"A lot of times they don't pay attention because they're on the cell-phone," said Finch.

Finch has resorted to not letting the kids out of the bus until the cars around are stopped or at least seem to be.

"You don't know which way these kids are going," said Finch. "Even with the door on the right side of the bus, that doesn't mean all the kids are going to go in that direction."

Regardless of the new flashing lights, close calls are seen daily from his driver's seat. Passing through the stop sign is not only dangerous but against the law.

"When the stop arm comes out and the red lights are flashing, please stop!" said Finch.

Police remind drivers that if you're caught passing a school bus while it's loading or unloading, it's considered a misdemeanor and you could be charged.

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