PHOENIX — It has been a while since many Valley commuters have consistently seen school buses out on the roadways, but they are back, and local school districts need drivers to follow the rules.
The Operation Safe Roads team hopped aboard a school bus with a Phoenix driver and heard about the concerns they have with keeping kids safe.
"The driver will honk the horn or try to get a license plate number," said Darlene Chavez. "But it's definitely scary to know that so many people are... so careless that they just ride past the stop sign."
Chavez is currently the Dispatch Clerk for the Creighton Elementary School District. She spent nine years behind the wheel.
"You're constantly looking at your mirrors," Chavez explained. "Not only are you focused on driving, but you're focused on the safety of the children, as well."
So, what do drivers need to do around a school bus?
"We see that... people running school bus stop signs when they're out," Route Coordinator Nabor Moreno said. "You should come to a complete stop until the school bus sign is closed... whether there's kids in the street or not."
Moreno explained, drivers need to watch for the flashing lights and the extended stop sign.
"Some drivers, they'll come... they'll slow down and kind of... creep past the bus at like a couple of miles an hour," Moreno said. "Some stop and go, and they treat it like a stop sign when you should treat it like a red light."
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation's Driver License Manual, drivers must come to a complete stop if a school bus has its stop sign extended. This is regardless of what direction you are traveling.
Drivers do not have to stop for a school bus stop sign if they are on a physically divided roadway and they are traveling in the opposite direction.
"Sometimes we have little kids and like, drivers... we try to control them," Moreno said. "Like, they're supposed to walk across the street. But some of them get off and they run across the street, like they want to get home or it's hot... they're just excited to be done with school, so they'll dart off the bus sometimes...I feel like most people should think about like, what if your kid was on that bus? Like, I don't think you want to see someone blowing a stop sign."
The Creighton Elementary School District is also looking for school bus drivers. This is full-time work with benefits. They will also train drivers on-site and help those who need it get their Commerical Driver's License.
For more information, click here.