WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Parents in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District say they want something done about a problem they describe as a tragedy waiting to happen.
They say people are driving their vehicles past school buses that are picking up or dropping off students on a busy street in the city.
Coal street is a major connector route for people coming into and out of the City of Wilkes-Barre.
A large electronic sign was placed there months ago to warn drivers that they must stop when school buses have their warning lights activated. But, parents say many people simply ignore the warning lights, placing their kids in danger.
“Some cars stop, sometimes they don’t. So that’s the real tricky part. So when she crossed the street she has to run across the street,” said Parent, Christine Fulford.
Christina Fulford describes a daily routine for her young daughter, who is picked up and dropped off by a school bus at the same intersection.
Other parents have said they too have seen too many close calls.
“Nobody understands the rules of the road. They fly by, they think they can catch the light, oh I’m going to go faster. It’s just no respect for the rules of the road,” explained Parent, Niesha Perez.
Janelle Davison is a Manager for S.T.A., or Student Transportation of America, which contracts to transport students in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.
“Coal Street is extremely difficult. On a normal day, we probably have five to six cars run the reds of the school buses. Now with holiday traffic, it’s so much worse,” explained Davison.
Davison believes that many people are distracted and/or do not understand the law.
“I think people aren’t paying attention and maybe they don’t even understand the laws. Maybe they think it’s a four-lane road and they can go where ever they feel like it. That’s just not so,” Davison continued.
Wilkes-Barre police stepped up patrols in the area and reminds drivers that unless there is a divider in the middle of the road, like a grassy median or barrier, drivers must stop on both sides of the highway.
“The duty is to stop on both sides and utilize that essentially as a stop sign while the kids are getting on or getting off the bus,” said Captain Michael Boyle of Wilkes-Barre Police.
People who pass stopped school buses, face fines of $250, five points on your driving record, and a 60-day license suspension. But the parents say the bottom line, this is all about keeping kids safe.