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Blaine County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Josh Prichard, left, and John Lowder join Todd Peck and Steve England of the Hailey Police Department to get their marching orders from BCSD Communications Director Heather Crocker before boarding buses at Alturas Elementary School in Hailey on Friday, Oct. 18.

Cops are going back to school for National School Bus Safety Week, teaching drivers to obey the rules of the road around buses.

From Oct. 21 through Oct. 25, officers with the Hailey Police Department and Blaine County Sherriff’s Office are riding along on school buses to emphasize and enforce stop-arm violations. Those occur when drivers don’t stop to let kids cross the street, or pass a bus during loading or unloading. It’s illegal, and, according to Idaho Code, can carry a fine between $200 and $600.

Last year, School District bus drivers reported 144 stop-arm violations. That’s one for four of every five days kids are in school.

“It happens almost every day,” District Director of Communications Heather Crocker said. “And, it puts kids in danger.”

On roads of three lanes or less—that’s most of Blaine County

—all traffic is required to stop when the red lights flash and the sign comes out. With four or more lanes, only vehicles headed the same direction as the bus need to stop.

The Blaine County School Dis-

trict relies on its bus drivers to report violations, and it’s giving them help. Now, almost all buses are equipped with high-definition cameras to record the license plates of drivers disobeying the law, according to Transportation Supervisor Lance Doby. Drivers radio Doby when a violation occurs, and he pulls the footage. Then, those images go to Director of Student Safety Dave Stellers, who forwards them on to the police.

“It can cost you, and more importantly it can cost one of our youth their life,” Hailey Assistance Police Chief Steve England said in a statement. “Always be aware around school buses, be patient, and if you’re thinking it is safe to pass or overtake a stopped school bus, think again.”

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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