Austin Independent School District Police Chief Eric Mendez said Thursday that more than 900 citations have been handed out in the first week of school for drivers illegally passing school buses. Some of the incidents have even included students getting hit by drivers not obeying the law.
For comparison purposes, in the spring 2016 semester, a total of 6,600 citations were issued.
"When we're close to 1,000 just in the first week of school, we're going to pass 6,600 for the school year," Mendez said.
To show just how problematic drivers illegally passing school buses had become, Mendez showed two videos of students being hit by drivers.
The first video came from an accident on Monday. It showed a driver turning right and hitting a student who was walking in a crosswalk. The student walked away from the accident and the driver was cited for not yielding the right-of-way to a pedestrian.
The second, more disturbing video happened on Tuesday. It showed a student who was crossing in front of the bus get hit and thrown by a passing driver. The bus had the stop sign and lights on when the accident happened. The student was okay and the driver in that instance was cited for passing a school bus.
Mendez said that there are approximately 22,000 AISD students on school buses every day and close to 1,200 school bus stops across Austin every day.
"During school days, during school times, you need to be aware," Mendez reminded drivers. "Kids can be anywhere and you need to watch out for them."
Mendez also recommended that parents talk to their children about safety while walking to and from the school bus.
"Just because you have the right-of-way, still look both ways," Mendez said.
(© 2016 KVUE)