LCSD1 bus drivers report frequent stop-arm violations

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CHEYENNE, Wyo.- Laramie County School District One bus drivers say they continue to see drivers passing stopped school buses while their red lights are flashing. During the current fiscal year, LCSD1's Transportation Department says they have had 401 violations reported.

CBS NewsChannel 5 went with two of our LCSD1 bus drivers during their normal routes to look at the issue. Driver, Shannon Swenson, said, "It's not just on my bus, but every bus we have out here... 129 buses." She added, "We have cars running our reds and it's a daily basis."

LCSD1 bus driver Wayne McNicholas agreed and said, "I had as many as six people run my reds at Miller (Elementary School)." McNicholas, who goes by "Mac" to his students, says he's been doing the job for nearly 14 years. Not only does he say the problem hasn't improved, but he also said, "What we're noticing more is people on their cell phones."

Whether it be distracted driving, not paying attention or being unaware of the rules on the road, drivers say it's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. Swenson said, "One of these days they're going to hit a child, and I don't want to be that bus driver where that child got hit."

LCSD1 Route Coordinator Teresa Sanchez said they always receive calls from their bus drivers each day. She said, "They give us a description of the vehicle, a license plate if they do have one and also a description of the driver." She added, "People are really busy and I know they don't mean to do it, but people don't understand that what we have behind us are special cargo."

The drivers agree that the added bus cameras have helped a lot. The bus not only has a dashboard camera, but also multiple cameras on the side that point in each direction. The cameras are automatically activated when the bus flashes its red lights and are able to catch video of the violation. Swenson said, "It'll catch any any cars going through, it'll catch the license plates, the make and model of the car, the color of the car, if there's any dents or dings in it, and also the driver."

Although the cameras help make their job easier when reporting violations, both drivers say it hasn't reduced the actual problem.

During the first ride-along with Swenson on November 8, CBS NewsChannel 5 was able to see the violation happen at Miller Elementary. During that same afternoon, another bus driver reported three violations during one stop on the South Greeley Highway. LCSD1's Transportation Department reported four violations that day. However, although we were not able to see the violation on our second ride-along with McNicholas, LCSD1 reported 10 violations Monday, November 20.