Lawmakers warn drivers in Muscogee Co. on the importance of following school bus laws

Updated: Aug. 7, 2019 at 11:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It’s back to school in the morning for students in Muscogee County.

Parents, teachers, and students are all gearing up for what’s needed in the classroom for the new school year, but there’s also a focus on students getting there safely.

Whether you have children in school or not, now is the time to be “aware,” especially around school zones and school buses.

New rules signed by Georgia’s governor are in place to help keep kids safe as they get on and off the school bus.

The rule is if you are traveling in a two-lane highway and with a physical barrier or not, cars on both sides of the roadway must stop.

If you are traveling along a four-way highway and there is a physical median there, then only the cars behind the bus must stop.

State Senator Ed Harbison was all for this bill to pass for the safety of children.

“We learned from last year’s change in the law attempt to make it better that it was made worst. As a consequence, there were a lot of accidents, a lot of infractions people just speeding by the buses. So, as a consequence, we had to issue this horrifying legislation this year,” said Harbison.

Meanwhile, the Muscogee County School District is steadily trying to resolve any bus driver shortages and delays.

Communications Director Mercedes Parham said right now, they are about five drivers short, but have about 12 in training.

She asks parents to bear with them as they get back in routine.

“Transportation issues, no matter how well you plan, we do know that there may be some variables that we just cannot count for. We try to leave room for that, but we ask that parents exhibit patience with us. Our number one priority is to make sure the student are safe and at that point, if it requires us getting them there a little later than we would like, to ensure their safety then that’s what we will do,”said Parham.

Parham said with it always being a hectic time of year, drivers need to slow down and be aware of school zones.

“One mile over is an infraction and they will be enforcing that heavily because they have done research. Speeding in a school zone increases fatalities for our students, so it is an awareness and a adjustment for all people including our students and parents and teen drivers,”said Parham.

Some parents have expressed how they feeling ahead of the big day.

“I’m trying to get all the kids adjusted to being back in school and getting to know the new teachers and new peers that are around them. So, that’s really the most difficult thing about getting back into schoo,”said parent Alicia Spearman.

“Making sure he has everything, school supplies and all that good stuff, making sure he’s going to the right school and just getting everything together so he can have a good school year along with the rest of the kids,”said parent Angel Thomas.

Parham said they are still hiring bus drivers. The application and school bus schedules below.

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