Motorists urged to watch for buses

Published 12:04 am Saturday, August 18, 2012

Come Monday morning, the roadways will be filled with yellow school buses as area students return to the classroom, and motorists are urged to exercise caution and patience when getting the students to school on time.

Buses will be out in full force beginning at 6:30 out in the county, 6:40 a.m. in Andalusia and 6:45 a.m. in Opp.

“We have nine bus routes, and we bus elementary and middle school students, so about 800 children,” said Andalusia City Schools Transportation Director Bob Harry.

Covington County Schools Transportation Director Donnie Franklin said there are 49 routes among the schools.

Opp City Schools Transportation Director Shawn Short said the system has nine routes.

“The biggest thing for us is people not stopping,” Franklin said. “There were several situations where there were near-misses. If the stop sign is out, you must stop, unless it is a four-lane and there is grass between the lanes, like on Hwy. 84 going to Opp.”

Short agreed.

“We want to remind people to just be on the look out for buses and to watch for signals and be on the look out for children,” he said.

Both Harry and Franklin reminded residents that in the coming weeks, bus drivers and students alike will be getting used to the new routes, and residents are urged to be extra cautious.

“A lot of times, we have new students being picked up,” Franklin said. “On farm-to-market roads, we need to be mindful that there may be a stop that we may not be accustomed to. Please slow down and be mindful that at anytime a bus could be stopping.”

Harry said another issue that affects bus routes is distracted drivers.

“People texting and talking on the phone is dangerous,” he said. “When they are in school zones, they need to pay attention. It’s very important.”