JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The renewed call to action for drivers to pay attention and stop for school buses. This comes as a North Mississippi town is still mourning the loss of a nine year old boy who was recently hit and killed while getting on the bus.
“Think about the kids," said Clinton Public School District bus driver Melinda Davis. "Seriously. Because every parent expects their children to come home safely at night. They don’t expect to go to the hospital or the morgue to identify their children.”
You would think the big yellow bus would be the first clue to slow down and stop. But Melinda Davis says in her 18 years of driving a school bus, she’s seen the level of distraction get worse.
“It’s scary because you don’t know," noted Davis. "Is the child going to stop? Is the child going to make it across the road? What is this person thinking?”
Davis says because she’s positioned higher than the cars, she can often tell drivers are texting.
"I blow the horn quite often and put my hand up in the window to let them know they need to be stopping.”
It’s a problem across the country. The Mississippi Highway Patrol launched Operation Stop last year. Statewide, patrols are upped around school zones and bus stop areas---especially those along state highways.
“We’re constantly looking for additional safety measures that will enhance the campaign and bring attention to the motoring public,” said Mississippi Highway Patrol Captain Johnny Poulos. "This is something no parent wants to deal with and this is why law enforcement officers work hard everyday to prevent these type of situations.
But they need the public’s help. Troopers in the district where the latest accident happened are paying particular attention to a certain stretch of highway that’s had a history of problems. Despite stories like those that grab headlines, bus drivers like Davis still worry.
“It’s very concerning for these people that don’t seem to care about our precious cargo," added Davis. "And I pray everyday that nothing happens to any of them. It’s really scary.”