Glitch gives school bus violators a free pass

The intersection of Hornsby Street and West Braker Lane is a bus stop location for Austin city schools but video provided to FOX 7 Austin shows that for some drivers, stopping doesn’t apply to them at that bus stop. On the video, you can clearly see the bus and the cars and trucks passing by.  

Even though warning lights are on, the stop arm is out, and kids are boarding. "I think a lot of people don’t know the law, correctly enough,” said Kevin Schroeder who works at Construction Specialties.

The store is located at the intersection and has an outdoor security camera.

A review of video from recent mornings confirms that school bus stop arm running here is a regular occurrence. "No, there should be no excuse,” said Schroeder.

The most surprising thing in the October video is a school bus heading in the opposite direction. It doesn’t stop. AISD Transportation Director Kris Hafezizadeh looked at the video from October.

He said it is surprising and disappointing. He noted the traffic light was green at the intersection at the time, but says drivers still have to stop. "Even if there is a green light, if I’m in doubt I got to stop, because you can see our school buses,” said Hafezizadeh.

Onboard cameras from that October morning recorded twelve events but no citations were issued. That’s because the license plates of the vehicles were obscured and could not be read.

Even the school bus from the other district got a free pass. It was determined the stop arm on the AISD bus was retracting at the same moment the other buss rolled by.

Thousands of other drivers have been caught.

Since August of last year, there have been 20,789 citations for running school bus stop arms in Austin. The number of citations is certainly high, but there is a plus side to all this. The number of repeat violations remains low, and so far this year, no children have been hit.

Two years ago school bus cameras recorded two vehicles running down two kids. The students were not seriously injured, but the drivers were cited for illegally going around a bus. 

"One incident, let’s say, can be too many. And as you said, the number of repeat violators is very minimal, so is the program working, in my opinion yes, does it need to work better; definitely,” Hafezizadeh. The most recent video from October is an example of why more enforcement initiatives may be launched around bus stops. 

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