SPOKANE, Wash. -The parents of a child with special needs are speaking out to raise awareness about following laws when driving near school buses. That’s because they say they’ve seen other drivers speeding.
Shila Foster says her 4-year-old son Gabriel has non-verbal autism and he enjoys playing outside.
“He likes trains and rocks and all sorts of stuff,” she says.
But, she says he also sometimes likes to take off running. Recently, Shila when she takes her son to his bus stop near Holmes Elementary, “we’ve noticed that people aren’t observing bus laws,” she says. “The bus driver can put the paddle out…the lights, and people will still drive right by.”
The American School Bus Council estimates more than 10 million drivers illegally pass school buses every year. Shila’s main concern is the danger.
“It's really dangerous because if he slips out of one of our hands there's very little we can do,” she says. “We can chase him down of course but the concern is, ‘is there enough time?’”
She says her son's bus drivers have been amazing in helping Gabriel.
“They do their very best,” she says.
She just hopes other drivers on the road follow the rules to keep all kids safe.
“Slow down when you see a school bus and if you see the arm down and the lights on, just stop,” Shila says. “It's not worth it if it goes south and you run a child over because you couldn't wait.”
A representative with Durham School Services says motorists passing school buses is an issue they're well aware of. In Spokane, if their bus drivers witness other drivers passing when the stop arm is up, they’ll radio into dispatch with a license plate number. That information then gets sent to the police.
If you are having issues with speeding in your neighborhood, the city suggests reaching out to your neighborhood council. For a list of neighborhood councils: https://my.spokanecity.org/neighborhoods/councils/
For more information on how to be safe: http://schoolbusfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Motorists_School_Bus.pdf