GREENWOOD, S.C. (WSPA) – Students in Greenwood return to school this week and more more buses, parents, and students will be on the road each morning and afternoon.
“I would suggest that drivers pay more attention, when they see that yellow school bus coming around the corner or down the street, be careful,” said bus driver and trainer Dennis Patterson.
Starting Thursday, Greenwood District 50 buses will hit the road running about 80 routes, bringing students to and from school.
“They’ll be a lot more traffic, there’s going to be kids walking home and crossing streets, there will be school buses making stops, so just a lot more to be aware of and a lot more hazards out there,” said Will Stroup, a school resource officer through the Greenwood Sheriff’s Office.
Leaders are asking driver to be mindful of young students, so everyone can arrive to their destinations safely.
“Give yourself five extra minutes to get to work or to wherever you’re going so you don’t feel rushed,” said Sgt. Jonathan Link, the public information officer for Greenwood Police.
When driving behind a school bus, people are encouraged to be mindful of frequent stops.
“On a one lane road, you always stop in both directions,” said Patterson.
Police said if drivers don’t follow the law, there are big penalties.
“A first offense of passing a stopped school bus is a minimum $500 fine and you can also be given up to 30 days in jail, and it goes up from there,” said Link.
If people are driving on a four-lane highway and driving on the opposite side of the road, they don’t need to stop for a bus. Still, bus drivers said it’s better to be cautious.
“If you’re unclear, stop anyway,” said Patterson.
Drivers are also encouraged to pay attention to speed limits in school zones. In these areas, there are likely more young drivers too.
“High school level, you have a lot of young drivers that maybe haven’t driven before that will be inexperienced drivers on the road,” said Stroup.
This week, police will also monitor busy and high traffic areas in hopes of keeping everyone safe. The police department is also hiring for several part-time crossing guard positions. Guards will help direct children who walk to school and will keep traffic moving traffic in carpool lanes.
Classes in Greenwood School Districts 50, 51, and 52 start Thursday.