Early County bus drivers tired of drivers not stopping during drop-off

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BLAKELY, Ga. (WTVY) - With just a couple of weeks left in the school year, some Early County bus drivers are getting worried about the safety of their passengers.

They've noticed more and more people blowing past their stop signs.

"We transport the most precious cargo in the world,” said Early County Sheriff William Price. “These kids are our kids, our grand kids, the community's kids. We want them to be safe."

Early County Sheriff William Price drives a bus every morning before starting his day job.

He's been a bus driver for 15 years, but lately, he's been a little frustrated - cars aren't stopping when he picks up kids.

"I have had close calls,” said Price. “Actually, I had one a couple of weeks ago, but luckily I blew my horn and the kid stopped."

The sheriff says he has lulls where he won't have too many people blowing through the stop signs, but he's had stretches with as many as two to three violations a day.

He isn't alone.

"On average, we have around six bus drivers make a complaint each day on their afternoon routes or morning routes,” said Early County Schools Assistant Transportation Director Michael Allred. “We've gotten to the point where we've had enough. It's got to stop."

Allred says a lot of times kids will walk in front of the bus to go home, where on-coming traffic can't see them.

He’s started having his bus drivers take down tag numbers every time it happens, so the sheriff's office can start writing tickets.

"Running a school bus stop sign is just as serious as getting a DUI,” said Price. “The first offense is a $300 fine plus court costs and surcharges. Second offense, it goes up to $750 fine and you can also get 12 months probation or jail time."

Sheriff Price says Early County hasn't had any kids get hurt yet, and he's hoping people learn to stop before someone does.

Price says the school board is looking into installing cameras on the retractable stop signs to photograph tag numbers.