PENNFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — JoLynn Sims loves being a school bus driver, she said. She’s been doing it for four years for Pennfield Schools and part of her bus is decorated with pictures students have drawn her over the years.
“I love the kids,” Sims said during an interview with FOX 17 on Monday. “And people driving through and running our reds is something that’s very scary.”
Sims said Monday morning she saw two vehicles speed past her school bus. She saw one student almost get hit by a vehicle when he was getting out of his car.
“One person ran past to go to McDonald’s,” Sims said about another incident. “I’d been there for maybe a minute. Two kids get on [the bus]. They sit down. We go. And, McDonald’s is more important. So it’s just something we need to open our eyes to.”
Sim said she’s sees what other drivers are doing behind the wheel. She’s witnessed drivers texting, eating, putting on makeup, and searching for items in the car.
She said it’s never-ending and can be scary.
She said school buses can have up to 77 students sometimes, from Pre-K to 12th grade, on one bus.
“There’s nothing we can do,” said Sims who’s a mother and grandmother. “We blow on our horns. We have our flashy stop signs that has reds you know and nothing seems to work.”
Sims said drivers are supposed to stop when the red stop sign is out.
She added that when the yellow lights begin to flash it's a good indication that the bus is about to stop within 200 feet.
“As long as we’re off the roadway cars can go by,” Sims said. “But if we’re on the roadway and the stop sign is out, everybody has to stop in every direction.”
Sims said that fortunately no one has been hit. And, sometimes, Calhoun County deputies will follow them and pull over drivers who blow past the stops signs. She’s even had students jot down license plates, which she gave to authorities.
However, her advice to all drivers is to pay attention to the roads, slow down and stop when the red sign is out.
“Kids don’t know if there’s a car that’s coming. Their natural reaction isn’t to stop,” she said. They’re reaction is to keep going and get to where they’re supposed to go, and they don’t think about that. We as adults with licenses have been tested. We need to watch what we’re doing because it’s a scary thing.”
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